Daily Devotion 06 March 2021

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Psalm 23: 1-3 ‘The Loving Shepherd’ (CEV)

1 You, Lord, are my shepherd. I will never be in need. 2 You let me rest in fields of green grass. You lead me to streams of peaceful water, 3 and you refresh my life.

We were most fortunate to have a barn at the time our daughters married and both their wedding receptions were held there. After our elder daughter’s wedding, one of the guests reported seeing a kingfisher flying in the barn during the reception, which wasn’t impossible seeing we lived near a river. I like to think it was true, although personally I’ve never yet seen a kingfisher. I was remembering this episode recently and it reminded me of a poem written by a friend of mine, Ann Lewin, about prayer.

Disclosure
Prayer is like watching for the Kingfisher.
All you can do is
Be where he is likely to appear, and
Wait.
Often, nothing much happens;
There is space, silence and expectancy.
No visible sign, only the knowledge that he’s been there
And may come again.
Seeing or not seeing cease to matter,
You have been prepared.
But sometimes, when you’ve almost
Stopped expecting it,
A flash of brightness
Gives encouragement.

There are many sorts of prayer, among them are several that we use regularly in our public worship, like adoration and thanksgiving, confession and intercession. They are all types of prayer we can use in our own private time with God. But in this poem I think my friend was writing more about meditation, about a prayer of silence that draws us away from words, into a place where we leave ourselves open to God. Silent prayer provides us with time to wait on God, to listen and hear his will for us. Keeping our minds empty isn’t ever easy as we are frequently distracted by the cares and responsibilities around us. I was helped by one wise piece of advice – let the distractions come, acknowledge them, even jot them down if necessary, then put them firmly aside to be dealt with later and return to God.

As Ann Lewin says, ‘Often nothing much happens’ but that doesn’t matter. The point is that we have given that time to God, we have spent time in his presence, whether we were consciously aware of him or not. And those moments when we are aware of him, those ‘flashes of brightness’ as Ann puts it, make the waiting more than worth it.

Prayer:

O Lord, you know our hearts, you know we want to grow closer to you
and spend time with you but we get so easily distracted.
Like silly sheep our minds wander and we find our thoughts far from you.

Teach us, Lord, how to be still.
Like a good shepherd, lead us beside still waters.
Quiet our souls, bring order and calm to the chaos in our minds
so that we can spend time in quiet and joyful meditation with you. Amen.

Reflection & Prayer © 2021 Ann Caffyn.
Poem © 2009 Ann Lewin, ‘Watching for the Kingfisher’, Norwich: Canterbury Press.
Image freely available online.

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All material within this order of worship is reproduced by permission under CCL 1226356