Dear Family in Christ,
As we move into the summer we enter the long period of the green paraments, the Time After Pentecost. The green symbolizes the color of growth and new life springing forth. We are called to be disciples and that means that we are constantly growing in new ways.
I have heard a few of you discussing different methods that you use to help you pray, which was a great joy for me to overhear during this year dedicated to the practice of prayer. Having one or two methods to guide your prayer life can help keep it on track. Probably the most helpful is to have dedicated times in which you consistently go to God in prayer. If you set aside a few minutes in the morning and in the evening, and say a table grace at every meal that is 5 times a day right there.
Even with methods and dedicated times to pray, in this busy world it can be too easy to get distracted. Especially during the summer when there are vacations that change our schedule, and many events to plan for, our minds can wander when we start to pray. Jeff Manion shared a practice he uses in a video for the Global Leadership Summit. Jeff lamented that sometimes he starts praying and suddenly finds himself checking his email and he never remembered saying Amen! What he does to combat this, is keep a prayer journal. The act of writing helps keep his mind focused on what he means to be doing at that time. He continued on describing his prayers as sharing with God his joys and disappointments and whatever catches his attention, like the colors of autumn leaves and the like. Which tells me it is not an overly complex discipline, but simply one that is helpful in building up one’s ability to concentrate. If this sounds like you, I’d encourage you to go grab a notebook, any one will do, and start writing your prayers down. This also has the added benefit of giving you a record to go back and look at later down the road, so you can see how God has answered your prayers, probably in surprising and unexpected ways.
Family in Christ, I want you to know that I constantly lift you up in prayer, in gratitude and for your faith, and I appreciate the prayers you offer up on my behalf. As always if there is anything you want me to pray for personally, let me know, I’ll add it to my journal. Also if you have something going on in your life, big or small, that the community can pray for we just updated our prayer chain and we’d all be glad to hold you in prayer. (Just call the church if you need to get a prayer started: 419-562-8511)
Pastor Jarrod Schaaf has been ordained as a minister in the ELCA and was the past Pastor at St. Paul in North Robinson.