I joined the zoom meeting while a friend was asking for God to help us. I wondered what had happened so at the appropriate point I asked. Several friends were in North America as was the one who I heard. They reported that Covid is massively on the rise in Canada and causing great alarm. One works in Public Health so I asked her what had caused the rise given that we had previously been in lockdown, why hadn’t that worked?
She explained that Covid has taken out the most vulnerable on the first wave but was now located in the community at large due to schools and other institutions remaining open. People think their circle of contact is small yet when it is traced we have more interactions daily than we realise. Epidemiologists were reporting that some forms of the virus were proving hard to trace their origins. She also suggested that the eyes were vulnerable to transmission which perhaps explains why I have seen people with full-face visors. On a positive note, she said that due to all the precautions flu rates have lowered. I came away thinking Covid is going to be with us longer than I had thought. The friend that I had heard asking God to help us was responding to the news as he too lives in Canada.
We were meeting as we have done monthly since the Summer school and were reflecting on the alumni workshop given two weeks ago on Prayer in Judaism.
I shared that I had not realised that prayer was a later concept in Judaism (now remember I am responsible for my own learning so I may not have heard correctly). If I understood correctly the Israelites lived their faith rather than prayed it. I guess they had a Levitical priesthood who could pray on their behalf. Bringing sacrifices was what prayer has become, the sacrifice of time when there was no Temple to bring an animal sacrifice.
A friend, a Christian shared how she always had a personal conversation with God through what we call prayer. Another friend, a Muslim shared that he continually recites prayers throughout the day as he goes about his life thanking God for food and the like. It reminded me of a prayer I saw in a public toilet in Jerusalem giving thanks to God for going to the loo. Another friend, a Baptist shared how he wishes to he spends more time in prayer. A friend and also an Anglican priest shared how the whole Anglican service is prayer and not only the moments of spoken prayer.
I formed the impression that some people of faith see prayer as those taught by their faith to recite while others speak of a personal prayer life which arises spontaneously as a conversation with the divine.
My own journey brings me to a place where I see my life as a prayer apart from those parts which are neither holy nor acceptable to God. It is like a relationship I carry it with me as I carry myself. At various points of the day, I am more conscious of it when I stop and be still or when it stops and stills me. I may make particular requests for others and myself but whether ‘points or particular’ there is a flow between God and me just as constant as the flow of blood in my body.
If I were to look for a verse that conveys how I see it it would be from Romans chapter 12 verse 1
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship. New International Version