Pray – Right Then and There!

Pray - Right Then and There!

I’ve been reading Wayne Muller’s book, Sabbath, recently for my morning time with God. I like what he writes about prayer:

“When I stop to pray, I feel my body release, disengage slightly from the rush of activity and progress, and float on the tides of a deeper time, tides that have borne up the lives of all who have prayed throughout eternity.”

Let me tell you a story about prayer:

I attended Lutheran Lobby Day at the end of May with 105 other Lutherans: laity, pastors and three bishops! Our new Director of Lutheran Office of Public Policy, Regina Banks, had invited us all to come to this event.

It all began with a wonderful worship at St. John’s, Sacramento. Then Regina gave us instructions for how to be lobbyists!

I was a bit nervous and yet also excited! Aside from some marches and protests over the years, I’ve never actually walked into an office of one of our representatives and spoken about an issue or bill.

Regina gave us clear instructions:

·     We weren’t there necessarily to push a particular bill

·     We were there to let our representatives know that as Lutherans, we cared deeply about three specific issues:

o Clean, safe, affordable water for all Californians

o Healthcare for undocumented adults

o And an end to child poverty

She also let us know that it’s very meaningful to offer up a prayer – no other lobbyists would be doing that!

She divided us into small groups – and we took off for the capitol!

After our first meeting, which went remarkably well, I told the staffer for the assembly member that we would hold their office in our prayers. He said, “Thank you so much. That’s very kind of all of you.”

When we later saw Regina in the cafeteria, I told her that we let the staffer know that we would pray for those who worked in his office.

Regina laughed in her easy way, and then said, “I encouraged you to pray – right then and there!”

What a concept. I confess that I shook a bit in my sandals. I mean – right there? In the capitol?

So at the end of our third meeting, I asked the staffer if he minded if we offered up a prayer. (Full disclosure: he had spoken to us of his daughter, who was a member of St. John’s! So this was an easy one!)

I prayed for him, for the Assembly Member for whom he worked, his daughter and for all those who worked in that office for the people of California.

The next two offices we visited – we all prayed together again. One staffer was visibly moved by it afterwards.

Sometimes – in our lives and in our ministry – it’s good to let someone know that we will be holding them in our prayers.

Other times – it may just be the right thing to offer to pray right then and there! May God grant us all the courage and the wisdom to know the difference between those two times.

Let us pray: Holy God, bless our sister Regina in her ministry of helping us advocate for those who have no voice. Bless our representatives who work on our behalf for the people of California. Bless all of us in our ministry of praying this summer!

In Christ,
Pastor Kathryn

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