Dear People of St. David’s,
I pray that you and yours are well and enjoying these crisp fall days. It always amazes me how the change in season opens up our lives to new possibilities and new ways of living.
In this year of Growing in Grace, we are focusing on the incredible gift of God’s love for us and ways to open ourselves to that grace to know just how loved we are.
One of the ways we are opened to grace is when we pray. In Jesus teaching in His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus enters this promise with a subtle invitation and expectation – “When you pray.” It sounds to me that Jesus assumes that as His followers, we will enter a life of prayer with God. “When you pray,” suggests that all of us will pray, so that we may have fellowship with God; pray so that God may grace us with God’s presence; pray to let us know God’s great love for us; pray so that God may guide us and allow us to know His will for our lives and for the life of the world. It is a simple expectation that leads to a life that is really life. Through prayer and time with God we come to enjoy Him. God, in turn, empowers us to live our lives most fully and for His purposes. Prayer brings one of the sweetest gifts of the Christian life as we are drawn into direct fellowship with God.
Prayer is nothing less than an act of relationship between us and God. It is not for earthly rewards or for others to acknowledge. It is an act or way of life that is between us and God alone. And while we pray in public and pray together, this personal act of piety is one that Jesus practiced daily. Jesus’s pattern of life, in all the Gospels, is one in which He spends time alone with God. It is the pattern that marks His life every day: time with God followed by ministry and teaching in the world. Several times, Jesus’ followers go looking for Him and can’t find Him because He was with His Father. In John’s Gospel, Jesus shares that nothing He does or teaches is apart from what the Father has directed Him to say or do. That kind of life can only come from the deepest of connections with God.
Jesus is teaching here about prayer as the relationship builder. The way to open the door for God to come into our lives. Like the manna that was given to the Hebrews in their wilderness wanderings, that is good only for that day, and not something that will carry over to another day, Jesus is calling us to a daily time with God. He is calling us to regular prayer for that fellowship and renewal that comes in prayer, whether we notice it or not.
So, as we focus on Growing in Grace, allow me to remind you that we will know grace more and more through our daily prayers and I invite you to renew your practice. God promises to come, and you and I will know grace when we pray.
Grace and Peace,
The Rev. W. Frank Allen