Our Latest eVotional
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”
When Albert Einstein worked at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study a graduate student approached him for help on a doctoral dissertation. “Dr. Einstein,” the student began, “I am supposed to research a topic that no one has written about, but it seems every area of research has been taken. What do you recommend I write about?” Einstein thought for a moment then answered, “You must find out about prayer. Someone needs to find out about prayer.”
This genius, who peered deeply into the mysteries of time, matter and the cosmos, longed for someone to find out about prayer. Most people I know want to find out about prayer. I do! We want to know more about how prayer works and how it shapes our lives and the world. Like Jesus’ disciples in today’s scripture, we want to know about prayer.
It is because many people desire to know about prayer that, beginning Monday, October 15, our Water from Rock website will feature our daily guide to prayer, Beside Still Waters: Fifty Daily Prayer Retreats. Each day’s reading begins with a short Scripture reflection followed by a Prayer Retreat with suggested activities. Like C. S. Lewis said, “We want to know not how to pray if we were perfect, but how we should pray being as we are now.” (Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer). Or, as Abbot Chapman counseled in his classic on prayer: “Pray as you can, and do not try to pray as you can’t. Take yourself as you find yourself and start from there.” (Spiritual Letters)
You will discover that there are probably as many different ways of praying as there are people. Each of us has our unique, God-created way of being with Him. We will explore many different ways of praying, some that will feel more comfortable to you than others. If over the course of the Fifty Days of prayer you ever find yourself asking, “Am I praying right?” Relax! God will teach you!
We will explore many of the facets of prayer, not just to obtain something from God, but to act in partnership with Him. We will see that prayer is more than petition and pleading; prayer is our whole relationship with God. Eugene Peterson wisely reminds us: “Prayers are not tools for doing or getting, but for being and becoming.” (Answering God: The Tools for Prayer)
Seventeenth century Scottish theologian Henry Scougal wrote about this wondrous adventure we call prayer: “In prayer we make the nearest approaches to God, and lie open to the influences of heaven; then it is that the Sun of Righteousness doth visit his directest rays, and dissipateth our darkness, and imprinteth his image on our souls.” (The Life of God in the Soul of Man)
We see in Mark’s Gospel nine times when the very active Lord Jesus goes on short retreats to pray. For example, “In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed” (Mark 1:35). Amazingly, Jesus came into the world in order to draw us into His very life of eternal communion with the Father. I hope, beginning next Monday, October 15, you will begin these fifty days of prayer retreats. To begin, simply go to www.waterfromrock.org, and click on the tab at the top “Fifty Prayer Retreats.”
“Lord, teach us to pray…”!
Grace and peace,
You will bring water from rock for the community.
We take our name from the Bible’s story of the archetypal Exodus journey during which the people of God came to a place in the desert wilderness where there was no water. Yet, it was there in a hostile wilderness that they experienced God’s provision of water for them and leadership into a new future. We trust in a God who still provides, renews and leads His people.
Rooted in the Word
We are a ministry of Christian renewal rooted in the Living Word, Jesus Christ, as He reveals Himself through His Written Word, the Bible. Through the Written Word we encounter the Living Word in the incomprehensible wonder of His love. We are mindful that knowledge, even of the Bible, “puffs up” while love “builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:1). We engage the Scriptures seeking to love more and know more of love. We purpose to search out God’s Word with both our minds and our hearts.
Ecumenical in Outlook
We honor all followers of Christ who have gone before us, and all who are among us now. We have much to learn and receive from all who have a lived experience of God’s transforming love. By reaching out to embrace the universal Body of Christ we strive to balance orthodoxy (right belief) and right living (orthopraxy).
In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.
(Rupertus Meldenius, 1582 – 1651)
Experiencing the Living God
We thirst to know God and not just to know about Him. We long for a living experience of God. We believe that God breaks into our world on the holy ground of His Word, and seek through His Spirit a living encounter with Him there. We daily aim to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength (Mark 12:30).
The arms of God be around my shoulders,
The touch of the Holy Spirit upon my head,
The sign of Christ’s cross upon my forehead,
The sound of the Holy Spirit in my ears,
The fragrance of the Holy Spirit in my nostrils,
The vision of heaven’s company in my eyes,
The conversation of heaven’s company on my lips,
The work of God’s church in my hands,
The service of God and the neighbor in my feet,
A home for God in my heart,
And to God, the Father of all, my entire being. Amen.
—Fursey of Yarmouth, 6th century Irish monk