I mentioned in an earlier post that I left the Emmaus walk in October with the feeling that I should be praying more -- and with a commitment to try to do that.
I think I've talked about reunion groups before on this blog, but if I haven't, I'll summarize. A reunion group is a "small accountability group," for lack of a better word. I belong to one that meets on every other Saturday morning. It's a group of eight (well, seven plus me) wonderful (the seven) women who meet to be a support for each other. We talk about life; we talk about walking with God; we help each other. Emmaus reunion groups have a specific agenda to follow each time we meet -- although there is no "emmaus police" that come and chastise you if you "do it wrong."
On a walk, to help the pilgrims to understand what reunion groups are about, we hold a "pretend" reunion group meeting. We did that in October. One of the questions that we try to answer at a reunion group meeting is, "What is your plan?" When it came time for me to tell those sitting at my table my plan for the week, I said, "I'm doing daily devotions with Disciplines -- I'll continue with that this week. I'm teaching a class on Wednesday evenings -- I'll work on that this week. I think from this walk that I've learned that God wants me to pray more, so I'll try to incorporate that into my week."
Immediately, one of the pilgrims said, "What does that mean -- to pray more? What does more mean? An hour more?" She wanted a very detailed description of what "more" meant. She was trying, I think, to help me be "accountable."
I didn't have an answer for her. I am normally a detail oriented, goal setting person. With this commitment, though, I wasn't. I couldn't explain what "more" meant. I thought it meant trying to work in more time in the mornings for prayer. I've been trying to do that. Looking back, though, almost a month later, I have found that "more" means something else.
More prayer has been God-instituted, not scheduled by me. This past month, I have found many more opportunities for prayer. Not more time spent in prayer, specifically, but more reasons for prayer. That has led to more time spent in prayer, but not because I set a specific goal in minutes to accomplish. I've prayed more because God has given me more things to pray about. Does that make any sense?
I think I'm going to take a moment to specifically list the opportunities that God has given me for prayer, if you promise to realize that I'm not telling them to you with any "look how wonderful I am" reason. I am not wonderful; I am certainly not a good pray-er. I'm going to list them because I feel so blessed to have been given these gifts. This is my blog; this is where I list my blessings (among other things).
- I've been praying for our Wednesday night book study. I have to admit, I never would have thought to do that before. It has been a gift to be able to set aside a few minutes each Wednesday to pray for the class -- for the students by name, for the teachers, and for the teaching.
- I have been gifted this month with the opportunity to pray for a few specific friends. God has pointed, and I have been blessed.
- Our Advent devotional will be distributed this week. As part of that "launch," I've planned for our committee to pray for the project. This is the eighth devotional we've done; this will be the first time I've prayed for them. God's pointing.
Please understand, I'm not praying anywhere near ENOUGH -- I still am very weak in this area of spiritual life. I do, however, find that I have a need for the morning prayer time that I haven't had before. I'm excited about it. I'm not sure that the prayer time is any longer than it was, but it seems more focused -- more necessary. MORE.
Images: How about some pictures from our trip a while back to Lisbon, Portugal? These are both photos of Jeronimos Monastery. The first is a not-so-great photo of the outside of the building. The other one is of the inside, during a worship service. Notice the trolley car lines -- Lisbon is much like San Francisco in many ways -- trolleys, built on hills, even the bridge over the main river looks like the Golden Gate bridge. Of course, Lisbon is much older.