Prayer@home in Lent
For anything else, I might have called it off.
Dave was tired. He had just realised the pile of work to do in seven days before the Easter break would require three weeks' of time and effort, and he was tired already.
I had received yet another notice of non-consideration for employment in a job search. I was flat and teary that night. We were in the midst of a visit from my parents - which never carries the promise of good emotional connection - and they were due back the next day from a trip north. That night was the breathing space Dave and I needed.
If we hadn't planned Prayer@Home, we would have deadened our spirits in front of the TV until sleep offered more appeal. Instead, we opened the door to Helen, aware that she carried her own worries and weariness and might have preferred to stay home that night herself.
What we found together, as three gathered to pray in Jesus' name, was sacred space. We sat at our table. I lit a pillar candle, set down a mug of tea and a plate of crumbly cranberry loaf, glad for the written prayers Helen had brought. I hoped from the liturgy's green pastures I could be restored to pray.
Helen told us Prayer@Home In Lent had been a tradition for priests in the Orthodox church for centuries, and she had been inspired by Bishop John's Prayer Pilgrimage.
I knew she delighted in the opportunity to meet with others to pray - especially when work was busy - and for me, it seemed significant to welcome a shared experience of the Lord's presence during the season of spiritual examination.
Led through words of Scripture, we spoke praise and thanksgiving to God who is good and whose love endures forever. We prayed for our families, for our neighbours, for our friends, and for our home. We prayed for God's work in us during Lent. We prayed the Lord's prayer together and closed with a prayer of sending out and words of God's blessing from Numbers 6:22-27.
More than a breathing space, our hour of prayer became a blessing space.
Jackie Law, St Thomas', Howrah