Collect and Readings for the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity – Jeremiah 31.27-34, Genesis 32.22-31, Psalm 119.97-104, Psalm 121, 2 Timothy 3.14-4.5, Luke 18.1-8
The Prayer for today
Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us your gift of faith that, forsaking what lies behind and
reaching out to that which is before, we may run the way of your commandments and win the crown of
everlasting joy; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of
the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
I have a half-finished embroidery somewhere in the back of a cupboard, which has been in that state for years. Whenever I rediscover it, I make the decision to keep it as one day I may have time to finish it. Even as I put it back in the cupboard, I know this is unlikely; the commitment simply isn’t there, as my embroidery doesn’t rank high enough in my order of priorities.
For many people, faith in God is similarly packed away, and brought out and looked at from time to time. Their prayer-life is haphazard and irregular, with long gaps of inattentiveness punctuated with occasional attempts to open up the communication channels. For whatever reasons, building a deep relationship with God is simply not a high priority at present. If it were, the commitment would show in a regular and more persistent prayer pattern.
Whereas my embroidery remains much the same sitting in the cupboard, relationships are dynamic and do not store well without attention. It is always rather sad when a close friendship subsides into the printed Christmas letter category. Although this can be a valiant effort to avoid losing touch completely, it is a poor substitute for the daily contact and shared lives. And so often our prayer-life and Bible reading, if similarly rare and impersonal, result in a very stilted relationship with God, which is such a poor substitute for the rich, vibrant companionship he has in mind for us.
We live in a rather fragmented and disjointed culture, which doesn’t help. Many young children are now entering school with a marked increase in poor listening and concentration skills. Persistence in anything, whatever it is, does not come easily. But prayer, like our heartbeat, needs to be regular and constant, a quiet rhythm pulsing faithfully under all our other activities. We also have a responsibility to keep up our study of the Bible so that we, like Timothy, are thoroughly equipped for every work.
Some things to reflect on:
· Do we have God’s word in our minds and written on our hearts? What can we put in place to improve our present situation?
· If God knows our needs before we ask, why does Jesus advise us to be persistent in prayer?
God bless and stay safe and well.
Rev’d Fiona Robinson