I don’t know about you, but I may have reached my post-GA punditry and analysis saturation point. While I understand the cathartic need to vent and react, I do think that at some point we must begin moving from where we were to where we are going. And honestly, we all need a break from some of the intensity lest we get caught up in our own little bubble and lose site of larger issues and/or we begin to actually do damage to the very things we are trying to build up. I know that as I get to feeling a little overwhelmed, it usually means that I have been forgetting to nurture one or more of my spiritual disciplines. I KNOW that I need to get out and ride more, I can’t wait for my next spiritual direction appointment and, good golly, I need to ramp up my prayer life.
Pre-GA, I thought I was in prayer enough. But I tell ya, with the sheer number of interactions – in person and online – the need for perspective and many more outright questions for God, I have been in prayer more in the past few weeks than would have ever thought needed or possible. I have prayed for strangers, new friends, my family, my wife, my daughters, my church and my own personal mental and spiritual health. At my most thankful, I have prayed for those who have supported me on my short and long term Christian walk and, when I have been at my best, I have prayed for those who at some level are my "enemies".
I have found great comfort from prayer, not only in mine lifted to God, but those lifted up to God on my behalf. I have found that, of all the gracious words or actions that people have directed my way, the most meaningful have been the prayers from those with whom there is some level of tension. When the words, "I will hold you and your family in prayer" follows a rational note, comment or letter explaining why they may disagree with what I believe or how I have acted, I hold that with great care because, as we all know, it is hard to pray, truly pray for those with whom we disagree.
It is hard to pray for our enemies.
Sure we say we will prayer for all of our brothers and sisters, but when I receive sincere offerings of prayer, I am given hope. It is not hope in the survival of a denominational institution or contractual relationship, but hope in the fellowship of Christ. Even if we think the other is straying from core beliefs, we can still lift them up to God, hoping that God’s will will be done in their lives and ours. Our covenant in Christ is still being honored. Heck, I don’t even care if the prayer is, "God please change Bruce’s wayward ways" because even then, I think there is a level of Christian love that drives the prayer.
Prayer will be one way that we may be able to move together into who knows what kind of future we will have as Presbyterians. I would invite you to pray for one another on your blogs, in your churches, during your quiet time or if you are a Facebooker, join the Moderator Facebook Group and lift up the many prayers that are being offered up in our Prayers of the People . . . discussion group.
If you believe some of the commentary out there, you would think that there is absolutely nothing that we can come together around. I just do not think this is true and prayer lifted up for one another is a good place to begin proving it.
Pray on my friends, pray on.
* GA 2010 in Minneapolis, 4th of July Weekend, about 100 weeks away 😉