We began our bible study with a prayer, in the form of what we know in The Episcopal Church as a Collect. A Collect is a prayer to God which calls us together around a common intention, offered in the name of Christ. Last year, we worked to write a Collect for our bible study group, Faith from the Margins to the Web. We prayed this together, and reflected on the way in which our lives are shaped by prayer:
Gracious God who is made known to your people through your incarnate Word, we ask your prayers for those who study, reflect, and share your good news through Faith from the Margins to the Web. Be present in every conversation and through your Holy Spirit, carry the good news to all those who yearn to hear. Be known to us in each other across the divides of this world through sharing the eternal words given to us in the life of your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Each member of the group took a turn reflecting on the role of prayer in our lives:
“I pray at home and in church; in church I pray to the Lord to show me things. At home, I pray with my hands folded before I do to bed. I think of words, you know, I’m actually studying the bible and I put my head down and pray and see what words come to me.”
“I pray anywhere and everywhere. I pray before I eat my food, to bless my food and to bless me. I could be walking along the street and things just hit you and sometimes, you know, you end up praying right there in the middle of the street.
I go to the park sometimes where I can be isolated from people, to get myself concentrating. I sometimes pray with my head down and my hands folded and sometimes I just speak to God like I was talking to my friend. I pray for safety, my health, my strength and for finance. I pray to keep all harm and all danger away from me. I just pray all the time; whenever I feel I need prayer I pray. Amen!”
“Prayer to me is a cleansing. I’m a silent prayer. I might, you know, I might have to get to the point where I break down and then I get silent and that is when I really pray, pouring out myself.”
“I just pray to God like I’m talking to a friend. Just talk to Him, you know, and the Holy Spirit offers me feedback. There’s no specific time or place to pray, you just pray whenever you think about it. I was trying to think of a simple way to put it: you’re getting ready to do something and you know that maybe it’s a problem and all of a sudden you here, “hey hey, don’t do that.” You know, that is also prayer. That’s when I know that God is also talking to me. “
“I pray every morning and every night. That’s the way I was come up in Church to do, every morning and every night. My day say that everything would be alright if you do that. And you know, that’s right. When I keep with that it seems to me that things have a way of working out, or for me understanding them.”
“I pray constantly. There is always something going on my life with my kids or my grandkids. So you know, I just realize that I pray all the time. Not always for me. But I love them so I pray for them. Anywhere and everytime, I pray a prayer. Pray when I’m happy, pray when I’m sad. Pray all the time.”
“I sing; it’s how I most love to pray…there’s this saying that “those who sing pray twice” and for me that is true. There are some chants I sing every day, and sometimes it a song or a hymn that comes into my mind. There are other ways I pray, too. But my soul feels deeply connected to God when I sing.”