Introducing: The Scriptures can help us to pray.
There is a story of a little girl who was afraid of the dark. When she woke at night she got up and ran to her parent’s bed. This went on for some time and the parents got tired of little cold feet disturbing their sleep. One night the mother took her up, brought her back to her own bed and as she tucked her in said ‘don’t be afraid. Jesus is here with you.’ The little one replied ‘yes I know Jesus is with me but I want someone with skin on.’
All of us at one time or another find it difficult to pray to a God we cannot touch or feel. We find it easier to relate to people ‘with skin on’ This is where the human life of Jesus and the different experiences in the Gospels can help to bring God closer and more accessible. The Israelites, were the first to believe in a God Yahweh who communicates with people. Abraham and Moses spoke with God, the Psalmists poured out all their feelings to Him. When they wandered through the desert, the Ark of the Covenant, Gods presence, went with them wherever they were. Later, when they settled in the promised land, they built a temple and put the Ark there. They stressed God’s presence in the temple and forgot that he is with them wherever they are. When the Temple was destroyed they were very upset because they thought God was no longer present. The rebuilding of the temple and the sense of the sacredness of God included the Holy of Holies where only very special people could enter. At the death of Christ the veil of the Temple was torn in two. The veil separating God from people no longer existed.
During his earthly life Jesus revealed a God who is involved in the lives of people
– He was interested in the widow whose son was ill; he wept at the death of his friend Lazarus; he cared about the situation of the woman who was outcast because of her way of life and offered her something better; he intervened when he saw the possible embarrassment of a young couple at their wedding; he refused to stand by silently at the injustice of a woman being stoned to death; he cared about the young man who was disturbed by evil spirits. God is no less interested in our own situations today. Our trust in him enables him to work and transform our situations, not always to change the circumstances but to be with us and help us know we do not have to carry them alone.
During the coming weeks look out for this space which will offer suggested ways of bringing some of these scenes to prayer and allowing them, to be a touchstone from which we share the stuff of our lives and feelings of our hearts.
We could begin with the theme of Jesus as Healer
The Word of God is ‘alive and active’ It is not just some stories from thousands of years ago but about us, now. It is active in that it actually works in us, transforms us, as we spend time with it
Find a quiet place and a comfortable position, allow your whole body to relax. Deep breathing, the lighting of a candle or some quiet music can help.
Focus your awareness that you are in the loving presence of God, , God around you, God enfolding you, God within you.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to be attentive, to pray and to be open to whatever gift God has to give.
Read the Scripture passage a few times. Today we take Luke 13:10-14
‘Now Jesus was teaching in one of the Synagogues on the Sabbath. And there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. And when Jesus saw her ,he called her and said to her, Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.’ And he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight, and she praised God.
Use your imagination to picture the scene as it is described.
Put yourself in the scene, become the character in the story
Ask for help to see what bends you down (is it fear ,anxiety, guilt, poor self image, some past hurt….?.) and how that affects your relationships with self, others, the earth and our God.
Jesus is just as really present to you now and he touches you, He invites you to let go of what is bending you down and to allow him to carry with you those you cannot just put down.
Allow your prayer to take you where it will.
End by speaking what is in your heart to Jesus and listening for any message he might have for you.
Note how you feel and think what difference your prayer might make in your life.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father