By Rev. Michelle Foster
It is always the same: Gather to pray, get ready for bed, tuck each one in bed with a kiss and the words “I love you.”
Our night time routine with our two boys seems to be set in stone. The routine does not change when we are on vacation; it is not altered when I or my husband are away from home at meetings, workshops, etc. Even the presence of a babysitter or visiting family member cannot alter the course of our evening routine. Our time of daily prayer as a family is very important to all four of us.
The prayers are simple. Sometimes it is The Lord’s Prayer, or one of many well-known children’s bedtime prayers, there are times when we take turns praying whatever it is that we would like, or completing one sentence prayers such as, “I’m sorry, God for _____” or “Thank you, God, for ______.”
The consistent thread in every prayer that is spoken or sung in our home is the raw vulnerability that is present as we all — parents, children, friends and family — bow before God in humility and gratitude at the end of the day. Prayer seems to be a sacred window through which we can see the innermost thoughts, joys and fears within our hearts and souls. As a parent, it is an opportunity to glimpse daily the creative working of God in and through the lives of my children and my spouse. Our time of prayer provides an intentional moment to truly be still and remember again that God is God of us all.
Whenever I have the opportunity to pray with another person there is a connection that happens, a closeness that occurs as the Spirit’s presence unites us in a covenantal and sacred bond. There is power and vulnerability, excitement and stillness, simplicity and complexity in every moment of prayer.
This year as we anticipate Annual Conference we are all invited to approach our time of conferencing and fellowship with prayer. Jane Watts from the Center for Ministry and La Toya Redd, East Jackson lay leader, in conjunction with the Annual Conference worship Team have offered to us 12 weeks of daily prayer and devotion.
I hope that you have received the first week’s writings on March 23. Each week there is a simple passage of scripture. Each of the biblical texts invites us to reflect on doors that we encounter in our lives. The reader is then invited to reflect on a variety of different aspects of scripture and engage in daily prayer.
Within our small family of four we find unity and strength in prayer each day. As a larger family of God, we too, can find strength and unity, even among our diversity and varying opinions, through the working of the Holy Spirit in prayer. Won’t you join with us and many others in this prayer journey toward Annual Conference?
Foster serves on the conference staff in the areas of children’s and family ministries.