Our church is holding a prayer vigil from 12 noon to 5:00 PM on Good Friday. The church will be open during this time and we invite everyone to be in prayer for 30 minutes. You may come into the church or you may pray at a place of your choosing. There is a video with devotional and worship music that I put together and will post on the Lake City UMC Facebook page on Good Friday.
Just a few thoughts about prayer:
As we remember the suffering and death of Christ upon the cross let us pause in the day to seek the truths that are in our own hearts and the truths that God would wish to share with us. Spend a moment in dialog with the God who gave us Christ and brought us life even through the confrontation with the worst that humanity was able to do. Jesus was put to death and God’s love overcame the sin which divides us. Who can fathom the painful reality of a world that puts an innocent and righteous man to such a slow and torturous death? Who can fathom the love of God that meets us and draws us back even when such sin separates us from God and one another? We perform at our worst and God performs at his best. We bring death and God gives life. We are lost and God opens the door and calls us home. Have you accepted God’s gift of salvation?
Prayer is a moment when we pause to allow God to speak to us. Sometimes people think it is about making petitions to God. Some struggle with the idea of how to prayer for an hour. Don’t we run out of things to say after about 5 or 10 minutes? Maybe, but perhaps when we have nothing left to say, this is the place where real prayer begins.
This is the place where the soul can become quiet. This is the moment to consider what we keep in our own heart. Are we hurting or struggling? Are we happy and amazed about the beauty of life around us? Are we concerned and worried about a family member or another person? Are we struggling to get by and to pay off our debts, or are living well and have the time to think about the needs of others or our church? Are we moving in love, or are we trapped in some moment of pain, anger, or bitterness? How is your soul?
Some Christians have used various ways to clear the mind and the noise of the day to reach toward the blocks of life that stand in the heart. Some have walked labyrinths, listened to music, contemplated the beauty of creation, or read the stories of the Bible, prophets, and saints. None of these actions contain power or magic. Some are edifying for the soul, but the idea is to draw our focus away from our own solutions and be able to share who and what we are with our creator. In those moments God hears us, and we may hear God. In those moments when we connect with the one who listens we may also experience our prayers being answered in a dynamic way. We will encounter the miraculous and the grace of God’s leading even in ways we do not expect. How many times has God answered our prayers and we have missed seeing the answer simply because we had not prepared ourselves to receive the person or circumstance that came close to our lives?
Prayer is not just the opportunity to share the needs of the world with God. God already knows the world’s needs and our needs. Prayer is the opportunity to focus our lives so that they may be on the same frequency with God’s desires for us. Prayer is the opportunity to gather strength even in moments of trial, temptation, and loss and realize that God walks the broken pathways of life with us even as he shares in the highways of life. His feet are also bruised and cut by the splintered stones of life that we walk on. What God does not do is abandon us. Jesus died to forgive all sin. He died so that all may have life. There is no lack of ability for God to forgive in any circumstance, no matter the case. If we seek life in him, and strive to follow, he is able to provide. Prayer is a part of this journey.