Saturday, 5 March 2011

Power of Prayer

This was published elsewhere but . . .

Part of the job description of a Vicar is ‘to pray for everyone’.

This is just part of the Ordinary of Priestly life - a powerful reminder of the significance of which can be found here - getting on with the ‘mundane’ task of praying for people.

No show, no howling or pleading, just praying, quietly, day after day. Praying for ‘those in need of a doctor’.

Just in the last few days I have been musing - again :)

Firstly on the extraordinary privilege of all of this, but secondly wishing that more might catch a vision of what is going on when we pray and how part of the power of prayer is ever so mundane that we might totally miss it.

The phrase, ‘The Power of Prayer’ is almost uniquely associated with ‘extraordinary manifestations’, but in so doing misses the most extraordinary manifestation of all, the physical transformation of the human heart. We don’t expect or perhaps want the power of prayer to be ‘simply’ a physiological effect. Somehow we think less of this, suspecting it may give our opponents more fuel if it were shown that such a link were true.

But heart is not just a metaphor in this regard. It is both spiritual and physical. We forget this. Hardness of heart has been shown unfailingly over the years to be both physical and spiritual. How many bitter folk die untimely due to coronary disease . . .

Prayer deals with the physical as much as the spiritual when we seek conversion. It is ’mundane’

I recently was called upon to pray in public for ‘an enemy’. I heard the sharp intake of breath and at the same time the words of Jesus ‘I have come for those in need of a doctor’ I have come for those in need of prayer. And I wondered as I prayed how we might view the enemy differently if instead of criticising them, we prayed for them. If we saw how we would be dealing not only with the priestly, but also the medical and . . . mused on how our own hard heartedness might be healed and we might ourselves enjoy more years of this earthly gift of life

Imagine having a terrible enemy - someone whose name you could barley bring to your lips - and then imagine praying for them, asking God to bless them, asking God for their good and not their ill . . . it takes only the smallest act of the imagination to see how in so doing our hearts would be changed, and richly so.

Perhaps that is why so few do

Perhaps that is why we still like to think ‘it’s the Vicar’s job’

It is an extraordinary privilege - I just wish more would join in. The change might well be something to behold

The King's Speech - 'To Be or Not to Be'?

There is something very wonderful about going to a movie which everyone has raved about, a long time after its release. That is the cinema is very quiet and none of The Wittertainment Code of Conduct is being broken in any way, whatsoever - BLISS!

And That Bliss I experienced last night as I finally got to watch 'The Kings Speech' but, profoundly grateful as I was for the quiet ( I have to say that viewing a film has never in my experience been such an uninterrupted experience as it was last night ) Bliss was not the predominant emotion I experienced, rather a very profound connection to 'George' through this compelling and for me utterly moving film.

Not thank God, because I stammer (and the film leaves one in no doubt about the pain of this affliction), but because of that crippling Fear that he exuded throughout, especially at moments where he was required to Speak.

I was left wondering a great deal about why I do not write, about why I only blog occasionally. I read prolifically, blogs included and am seemingly surrounded by the erudite the witty and the wise, in much the same way that Bertie is surrounded by the socially confident.

Many people are telling him to 'spit it out' - to relax, and I think of the good number of friends and other well-wishers who have said 'You Must write - there is so much that you have to say that needs to be heard'.

. . . but, like Bertie, I too am afraid. For him it was the performance of words written by others. (It is noticeable how the two Speeches which bookend the film are not his own words, his own voice. There is a Glorious moment in Westminster Abbey with Lionel, in which he shouts out 'because I have a voice!'. . . and one was left thinking whether part of his difficulty was rooted in his life circumstance that from birth he was living a life in which he had no say - he was speaking that which was required of him). Whereas for me the Fear is of the Performance of my own words, my own voice.

Or is it?

Am I like Bertie, afraid of my own shadow?
How much is writing, Life?
Or is it rather a half life?

Is this avoidance of writing, of publishing really 'fleeing from Life', as someone once suggested? Is the significance of Life to be measured in words written when The Life wrote nothing, yet Writ Large?

Or is it a sense that deep down I have my own Story, my own Voice which must be Enacted rather than written?

I am very conscious of how carefully I edit my words, of how many times I check drafts before hitting 'PUBLISH POST' - like Bertie's cripplingly painful pause before getting a word out . . .

Yet when I 'walk down into the street' - there is no pause. there is no quest for perfectionism, all there Is is Life. There I can Breathe.