Lessons in Prayer

27 Dec

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

We spent last week at the beach.  Yes, the week before Christmas.  Since Christmas fell on a Saturday this year, our church related duties (for lack of a better word) were completed early and so five days at the beach was our Christmas present to each other.

It was the best pre-Christmas week ever.  I spent most of my time reading in the hammock under the gazebo.  We walked the beach, prayed, listened to messages, and watched some movies.

The most important lesson that I got was a lesson in prayer.  From a bird.  A flock of green parakeets of some sort came often to the clumps of beach roses surrounding our cottage.  I watched them while relaxing in the hammock, alternating between prayer and frustration due to how easily distracted I am when I pray when one of the parakeets left the group to perch near me and sang and sang and sang.  Her song wasn’t beautiful, and although distracted occasionally by the appearance of a hawk or a friend, she returned to her perch at various times throughout the day and sang some more.  I love object lessons and that’s what this was for me.  An object lesson in prayer and praise.  Prayer is a choice that we make as we go through our days.  It does not have to be perfect to “count”.  On the way home from the beach on Christmas Eve, I read this quote which is the grace message on prayer in a nutshell:

A father is delighted when his little one, leaving off her toys and friends, runs to him and climbs into his arms.  As he holds his little one close to him, he cares little whether the child is looking around, her attention flitting from one thing to another, or just settling down to sleep.  Essentially the child is choosing to be with her father, confident of the love, the care, the security that is hers in those arms.  Our prayer is much like that.  We settle down in our Father’s arms, in his loving hands.  Our mind, our thoughts, our imagination may flit about here and there; we might even fall asleep; but essentially we are choosing for this time to remain intimately with our Father, giving ourselves to him, receiving his love and care, letting him enjoy us as he will.  It is very simple prayer.  It is very childlike prayer.  It is prayer that opens us out to all the delights of the kingdom. — M. Basil Pennington

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