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Community and Prayer

In my community, we pray together at 7:30am and 9:00pm Monday through Friday, and we try to remember to stop at 1pm to pray and refocus our days. This has become a rhythm that I enjoy and I am surprisingly motivated to get up early in the morning (though I admit, not without some struggle). I’ve been learning just how formative this rhythm of life can be. There is something very rich about starting and ending the day with prayer.

Yesterday, there was a need in our community and a smaller group of us gathered at Camino House to pray specifically for this need. Again it was such a rich time, and very powerful in the sense that I felt the Lord’s presence amongst us where two or three are gathered.

In reading Esther de Waal’s commentary on St. Benedict’s rule, I found a passage that has challenged and inspired me. She says that our first step in faith is to deny our own will and surrender to God’s. Then she says

After that step, that moment of decision, comes the determination and the perseverance, having put my hand to the plough, not to turn back but to follow this through to the end. Without constant prayer this will never be possible. Prayer will remind me all the time that whatever I do is a matter of grace. Perseverance itself is a special grace, and to receive it we have to pray constantly.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the need to pray constantly. At a community level, I see a lot of spiritual warfare with the different communities that I take part in. I hear of division, lost hearts, contempt and exclusion. I have been coming to realize that I need to be renewed in prayer in order to wage this war. I cannot do this alone. Thankfully I have a God who walks before me. At a personal level, I feel that a lot of what I am facing right now is spiritual warfare. I use that lightly as I know it is a term that is thrown around a lot in Christian circles too loosely. But it just seems that the battle I am fighting is not only against flesh, but the powers of the spiritual world. And again, I am finding my only comfort and strength in prayer.

One beautiful thing about living in community or being part of the larger communities of faith is to be upheld by prayer. My psychiatrist, who is a dedicated and mature Christian, today said that he would pray for me which was a huge blessing to hear. I had told him of a meeting that I was not looking forward to and he knew the details. He asked me what time the meeting would be and said that he would pray for me at that time.

Others are praying for me. People who are close to me. And people who I haven’t even met. I think through community and corporate prayer, I am discovering what a blessing prayer is.

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