“When we discover the secret of being inwardly at worship while outwardly at work, we find that the soul’s silence brings us to God and God to us.” ~ Brent Bill
Yesterday at the healing service while some had gone to the altar rail for prayers, I sat quietly in prayer for those and a few others. I was dealing with a couple of things that had really upset me, so when I felt someone beside me in the seat that had been vacated, I was a bit startled. The empty seat was next to the wall and it would have been next to impossible for anyone to get to that seat without me knowing about it. I wondered how that had happened when I suddenly realized that it was Jesus whose presence I felt.
He knew my inner turmoil and I felt him take my hand. I was wrapped in love. We sat together until I heard our priest say, “The peace of the Lord be with you.” Without really thinking I said, “The peace of the Lord be with you…uh…Lord.” I giggled, silently of course, but it was there inside me wandering around and filling me with laughter. What on earth does it mean to say, “The Peace of God be with you, God?” How can it even be possible to pass the peace to God when God is our peace—Father, Son and Spirit—our peace. Jesus smiled at my amusement and my wonderment. My seatmate returned and the service continued.
Well, what does a person do with all this when she has just passed the peace to God? I have no idea. Enjoy the moment comes to mind. Realize that we are not alone in our stumbling, struggles and pain – that’s a good one to remember. Jesus has a sense of humor in case we didn’t know or forgot. And praise, definitely. I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be always in my mouth. My soul will glory in the Lord; let the poor hear and be glad. Magnify the Lord with me; and let us exalt his name together. – Psalm 34:1-4
And pray. “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me.”—C. S. Lewis
You know by now that one of my favorite ways to pray is Centering Prayer. I pray with words, too, when they are required but I try, twice each day, to pray in silence. Rich Lewis, a writer for Contemplatives Today, is writing a series on Centering Prayer. Some of his answers to the question “Why do I center?” fit me as well.
“I center because I love God. I center to let go of my worries, anxieties, fears, things that are bothering me. When I center, I am sitting with God; I do not think words need to be said. I sit with God to love God and be loved by God. I believe God is praying in me in ways that I do not know…..I sit to let God act in me. I sit to be refreshed. I sit because it slows me down…I learn to make better decisions; sometimes silence is the best action.”
And, lastly, one of the reasons why I use Centering Prayer is that it helps me “Pay Attention.” That’s about all I know that I can do when I have just passed the peace to God.
“Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.” ~ Mary Oliver