May 10, 2021
I remember my grandmother talking about going to prayer meetings. Some faith traditions still hold them, and maybe some Episcopal congregations do too. It’s a wonderful concept, coming together to pray in community, possibly over something specific.
A recent Forward Day By Day meditation by The Rev’d Scott Gunn, Forward Movement Executive Director, offered a good reminder that any Vestry or other church meeting can turn to prayer when the way forward seems unclear. He realizes this might seem a bit odd as leaders take seriously their responsibility to find solutions:
“Indeed, we should do our due diligence to ensure we make wise decisions. It’s also true that we need to listen for God’s call to us, whether we are deciding things for ourselves or for our church.”
I appreciate Rev’d Gunn’s call for leaders to pray together in the middle of a Vestry meeting, not just at the beginning or end.
It’s not that people don’t want to pray. Perhaps our tendency is to think an opening prayer should cover our deliberations with God’s wisdom and direction. It certainly can. But why keep a powerful gift from God on the shelf when a particular challenge stumps the group?
Stop. Name the challenges. Consider scripture. Pray. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Pray for hearts to see God’s opportunities. As discussion resumes, deeply listen to each other in the spirit of grace, trust, openness and love. The more we remember that we humans don’t have all the answers - we don’t even have to have them – the more we can depend on God in all things.
As Rev’d Gunn concludes: “Jesus had some big decisions to make, and so he spent a whole night in prayer. If Jesus Christ, fully divine and fully human, needed to take time to pray, we should not imagine we can make big decisions without lots of time in prayer.” (FDBD meditation April 27, 2021).