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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, March 6, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | James 5:13–18

Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest. (NRSV)

Have you ever taken up running? I used to run regularly, and what I remember is that the first run usually came with some desperate need to sweat, get my heart rate up, and release some endorphins. But oh that second and third run were some of the hardest runs. Running sporadically seemed grueling and unbearable, but once I got into a steady practice, it became comforting. Running was never easy, but as it became a regular part of my being, I would long for it. I would need it. I would have to go out and run. Prayer can be like this too.

We might turn to God in big moments—times of suffering, illness, or extreme happy moments. These are wonderful times to pray, but with a regular practice of prayer, something might change, something might click. You might find yourself feeling more in sync with God than you’ve ever felt before. Yet continuing in a prayerful relationship with God is never easy. Even a steady practice of running might bring a comforting rhythm, but there are still those days when that run seems impossible.

This is what I experience when I’m in conversation with God. Getting back into a prayer practice seems hard, but for me, a more regular practice always helps me stay connected with God and grounded in whose I am and why I’m living.

What are your prayer practices? What are your struggles with prayer? What helps you stay connected with God?

God, we’re taught how effective and helpful prayer is. We believe this, and yet we also find it challenging. Help us in our prayer. Help us leave space open for you in the rhythm of our lives. For it is you we live for and the reason we live. Amen.

Written by Abbi Heimach-Snipes, Pastoral Resident

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