We wanted to create a work that invites you to do far more than simply read what is written and agree or disagree. We designed this book as a way of inviting you to contemplate your own life, the lives of those you love, and the presence of God in, through, and around all of it. – Justin McRoberts and Scott Erickson, Prayer
I call upon you, O Lord; come quickly to me;
give ear to my voice when I call to you.
Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
and lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice. -Psalm 141:1-2
Each month of this church year, we’ve been focusing on a particular faith practice – a way of living out our faith in daily life. So far, we’ve looked at play, Sabbath, hospitality, study, community, worship, justice, and change. In March – during Lent – our faith practice is prayer.
In some ways, it’s the most obviously religious of them all. Anybody can play; study is valuable far outside the church; the work of justice isn’t limited to Christians (or any other faith tradition, for that matter). But prayer is a religious act. It begins with the trust that someone, somewhere, is listening.
But from there, it isn’t always as clear – it provokes as many questions as it answers. How do I pray? Can I do it wrong? What do I say? How should I listen? What if there’s no answer? What if I need help?
This may be the month when the word ‘practice’ matters most of all. These are faith practices – quite literally, in that we need a lot of practice when it comes to them. We need to expect that we will make mistakes, blunder a bit, and learn as we go. And, like many good things, we need help along the way.
During Lent, we will gather around the practice of prayer, particularly through the book Prayer: Forty Days of Practice by Justin McRoberts and Scott Erickson. This book isn’t an academic treatise about prayer, but an accompaniment for prayer. Each day’s reading is either a simple sentence or an image: that’s it. Throughout the book, you’ll find ideas for six types of prayer practice: journaling, exercise, fasting, meditation, lament, and intercession. As the authors say, “not everything works for everyone, but we’ve found that it can take a fair bit of work and trial to honestly discover what works for you.”
Then, on March 19th at 6:30pm, Justin and Scott will give a concert and conversation at Salt House to talk about the book and their own journeys with prayer. Don’t miss this great opportunity!
Join a small group to talk about these prayer practices, experiment, and pray for and with each other. To learn more, contact Pastor Mary-Alyce.
Read the Lent study guide here.
Purchase the book here.