Daily Devotion 24 October 2020

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.

Mark 1:35 ‘Jesus’ Morning Prayer’

35In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.

Matthew 6:6-8 ‘Guidance for Prayer’

6 But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 7 ‘When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

When my younger daughter spent four years in China with VSO after university, it was in the days before mobile phones became the norm. So once a week we would phone the gatehouse of the college she taught at, and keep repeating her name to whichever official answered – they spoke no English, and I no Chinese. Libby would be waiting there ready to seize the phone as soon as they realized the call was for her. That might sometimes take a while, but the precious time together that followed made it worthwhile!

One week I phoned and when the phone was answered I said her name and listened without comprehension as usual to the reply. I repeated her name time and again, only to hear the Chinese voice I couldn’t understand talking back to me. In the end I sadly gave up. When we next spoke, Libby told me that on that day the gatehouse phone had been out of order and I had been repeating her name time after time to the recorded message.

We all know how important communication with family and friends is. One of the things we’ve found so painful during the pandemic has been being unable to be in touch with those we love in the easy way that we’re used to. And if it’s important to connect with families and friends here on earth, how equally vital it is to communicate with our Father in heaven. I am sure that time we set aside to spend with God brings just as much joy and is as precious to him as those phone calls were to us when our daughter was on the other side of the world. The line to God is never out of order, nor does he speak to us in a language that is foreign to us.

Jesus, who was closer to God than any of us ever are, still needed to set aside quiet time to pray and to listen to his Father. They were essential opportunities to be affirmed in what he was doing, to be re-empowered and strengthened for what was to come, times to listen and discern the next step forward.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, we read in the gospels that you went away to lonely places to pray.
In our busy days of noise and action, remind us of our need for time alone with you and for peace and silence within.
We come to lay our burdens before you;
to pray for others; to wait and hear your will for us; and to receive what you know we need.
Be with us now as we pause with you for a few moments in quietness.
In your name we pray. Amen.

Reflection & Prayer © 2020 Ann Caffyn.
Image freely available online

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