Sally says:"Part of the Ascension Day Scripture from Acts 11 contains this promise from Jesus;'But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'Then he was taken from their sight into the clouds, two angels appeared and instructed the probably bewildered disciples to go back to Jerusalem, where they began to wait and to pray for the gift Jesus had promised.Prayer is a joy to some of us, and a chore to others, waiting likewise can be filled with anticipation or anxiety....So how do you wait and pray?"
1. How do you pray best, alone or with others? Well that is a great....ta-da....both/and! I'm a Meyers-Briggs "I" and like my solitude, so it follows that prayer time alone is a good thing for me and feeds my soul. Although sometimes it looks like walking, or yoga or tai chi or petting Maggie. But I do love gathering with others for prayer as well....whether it is the formal prayer of liturgy or the intimacy of shared informal prayer with one or more others. There is an energy that happens sometimes that is palpable. I can feel God gathering with us and amidst us....abiding as that lovely word has it, just putting up the tent among us, so tender and present. One of the great gifts of Lent for me this year was hanging out with my Presby friends as we talked and learned about prayer, and seeing people realize that prayer is for them too, that it can be accessible, that there are all sorts of ways to pray....writing, dancing, beading, walking....you don't have to be sitting still in church to be praying.
2. Do you enjoy the discipline of waiting, is it a time of anticipation or anxiety? Given that my favorite two liturgical seasons are Advent and Lent, and that during both in this last year I was know be heard saying that I wished they would go on longer, I guess I must be good with waiting, at least on that front. Now in the rest of my life.....hmmm, not so sure. When I read the title of the Friday Five, and before I made the Ascension connection I have to admit I kind of rolled my eyes at God and said, "Not again with this wait and pray stuff, give me a break would you!"
3. Is there a time when you have waited upon God for a specific promise? I think that I might be doing that now, though I had not thought about what I am waiting for to be about a "promise" from God. I do trust that God is in what is going on, that God is working through the love and care of those around to carry me through and that things will eventually sort themselves out and life will make sense again....because based on my experience of life, I know that given enough time, it does do that eventually. I tend to believe those "all will be well and all be well..." and "all things work for good...." things, so yes I guess maybe I am waiting on God's promises!
4. Do you prefer stillness or action? Both/and, both/and, both/and....to everything there is a season. The tricky part for me is discernment. I used to act sooner. My tendency more and more is toward more stillness, and if not less action, waiting longer to move to act. I'm not sure that is always a good thing. Sometimes the waiting is pure chickenhood! Conflict avoidance or whatever. Sometimes by waiting I miss the moment. But I think I often acted a little rashly, or said things I wished later I had not, so this seems like it might be the onset of a bit of wisdom.
5. If ( and this is slightly tongue in cheek) you were promised one gift spiritual or otherwise what would you choose to receive? Given all that is going on....I think I would choose peace. Peace for myself....to know that the choices I am making are the best they can be for all concerned, and peace for the other concerned that I am not making them in spite or anger but because I can make no others. If it could expand to peace for all and everywhere I would not turn that down either!