My earliest memory of a corporate prayer time was at my home church. On Wednesday nights the faithful gathered to pray, and once you graduated from the nursery you were in the prayer meeting with everybody else. The picture is a little fuzzy but I remember my parents kneeling at their pew like all the other grownups…a position I would begin in…but I’d soon slither to the floor. It was much more interesting to look through the tunnel of benches trying to guess who was who by the bottom of their shoes.
Some people make a big deal out of the correct position from which to talk to God. I’ll admit, some postures are more appropriate for certain types of prayer but I don’t think any are more spiritual than the others. I can’t imagine requiring my children to take a particular stance to get my attention. I’m just thrilled they want to have a conversation, share their heart, ask for help, or tell me something that’s on their mind.
When I was in Portland a couple weeks ago our class participated in a half day prayer retreat. We had time to pray while we walked the grounds, a lot of time of silence, time set aside to pray with our formation group, and time to walk in a prayer labyrinth.
Sadly with that last admission some have stopped reading and rushed to put me on the heretics list. So for those of you who are still with me here’s what happened. As I began the Spirit drew my attention to a passage of scripture that had been very important to me when I moved to Flushing 14 years ago.
- “Then the Lord told me: I will give you my message in the form of a vision. Write it clearly enough to read at a glance. At the time I have decided, my words will come true. You can trust what I say about the future. It may take a long time, but keep on waiting – it will happen! I the Lord, refuse to accept anyone who is proud. Only those who live by faith are acceptable to me.” (Hab. 2:2-4 The Promise Version)
I hadn’t thought about that passage in a long time. I had filed it away as a particular word for a specific time. But as I walked and quoted and prayed I believe God was speaking to me through it. Maybe these verses weren’t just for the waiting, dreaming, and preparing I was doing in 1997. Maybe God wants to reassure me in this season that I have caught a glimpse of His idea for me and I need to pursue it in bold faith. Maybe this passage is directed at the overall trajectory of my life…a life familiar with waiting (which can be a blessing and a curse)…a life lived by faith (which thrills me and frightens me).
I cherish those memories of army crawling under the pews and I don’t think people from my era missed much by not having age appropriate programming. I was learning something down there: if you’re quiet God will reveal Himself to you.