Many of you are, I suppose, stuck at home due to lockdowns designed to minimize the spread of the Coronavirus…
The present lockdowns are not what any of us want, but they are what we need right now, and they will likely stretch on much longer than we want them to. How do we stay healthy and sane under this imposed social isolation? Here are a few ideas, and some reading recommendations for each idea.
These are certainly trying times, but God is present with us in them. I was reminded the other day of the biblical story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and how God with with them, even in the furnace (Daniel 3). It might not be as dramatic, but God is with us when we are sequestered in our homes, and to pray is to be attentive to God’s presence with us. There are hundreds of excellent books on prayer: books on centering prayer or contemplative prayer may help us in these difficult times, but I’ve selected here one excellent book that takes a broad look at this spiritual practice.
Best-selling author Richard J. Foster offers a warm, compelling, and sensitive primer on prayer, helping us to understand, experience, and practice it in its many forms-from the simple prayer of beginning again to unceasing prayer. He clarifies the prayer process, answers common misconceptions, and shows the way into prayers of contemplation, healing, blessing, forgiveness, and rest.
Coming to prayer is like coming home, Foster says. “Nothing feels more right, more like what we are created to be and to do. Yet at the same time we are confronted with great mysteries. Who hasn’t struggled with the puzzle of unanswered prayer? Who hasn’t wondered how a finite person can commune with the infinite Creator of the universe? Who hasn’t questioned whether prayer isn’t merely psychological manipulation after all? We do our best, of course, to answer these knotty questions but when all is said and done, there is a sense in which these mysteries remain unanswered and unanswerable . . . At such times we must learn to become comfortable with the mystery.”
Foster shows how prayer can move us inward into personal transformation, upward toward intimacy with God, and outward to minister to others. He leads us beyond questions to a deeper understanding and practice of prayer, bringing us closer to God, to ourselves, and to our community.
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