Renewal: From small seeds | Preparation Prayer
In order to be really present to today’s prayer session, let’s take a little time to prepare ourselves. This will involve quietening ourselves literally and figuratively. Firstly, find a good place to pray. If you are confined to your room, there’s not much choice. But remember, prayer is about real connection and not just perceived perfection. So find yourself in the best place you can.
Secondly, get in touch with what needs to be quietened in you today. You could think about three sites- your head, your heart and your body.
Notice what is going on inside your head. What are you thinking today and how does it differ from yesterday? Don’t get caught up in any thought in particular. Just notice how your thoughts are.
Notice what is going on inside your heart. What are you feeling today and how is that unique to this day? Again, don’t allow yourself to get too caught up in any feeling. Simply notice your feelings.
Notice what is going on in your body. How does your body feel today in comparison to yesterday? Notice the sensations you have- comfort, discomfort, pain, tiredness, restfulness.
Begin, now, to notice your breath. Perhaps breathing is difficult today. If so, go gentle and breathe as well as you can. As you do, acknowledge that each breath, however laboured, is a sign of the gift of life within you. Give thanks to God for this gift.
As you sit, breathing and giving thanks to God, allow your body to become heavy where you sit or lie. Allow a sense of quietness to come over you. This may take a few minutes. Stick with it until you feel ready to proceed with our prayer session for today.
Prayer theme: From small seeds
One thing that can cause us frustration in life is when we expect to see big changes in the tough situations that we face only to find that those big changes are not forthcoming. We want to see arguments resolved immediately. We want confusion to suddenly lift and clarity to descend like a dove from above! We want to see sadness, anger and bitterness suddenly dissipate.
However, more often than not in our lives things do not change like this. Rather, they only change in small, sometimes almost imperceptible ways. And when it happens like this, we can miss these small moments of change altogether. We simply do not see them. And we can tell ourselves the story that ‘nothing ever changes’ or ‘things will always be like this’. We notice it especially with growing children. On a day to day basis, it seems like they are just the same as the last day, but when we step back and take stock, we see that they have grown up before our eyes, almost without us knowing it!
I call these little, almost imperceptible changes, ‘mustard seed moments’ (for those of you who are interested, Jesus talked about mustard seeds. You can find an example in Mk 4:30-32). There are moments in all our lives that, though small, are only one part of an ultimate change that is huge. The cumulative effect of these ‘mustard seed moments’ can change our lives, our world even.
Take, for example, small steps towards peace and reconciliation. Every day, in our world, people are taking brave and selfless steps towards peace and reconciliation by reaching out to traditional enemies or by taking a risk to visit an area or place that would have been ‘off limits’ before or swallowing pride and healing broken relationships. These ‘mustard seed moments’ could go by unnoticed. Their cumulative effect, however, could not. Their cumulative effect sets the world alight with peace and love!
Matthew 13:31-32 (NIV)
Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches."
Philippians 3:7-11 (NIV)
I have come to consider all the advantages I had as disadvantages; I look upon everything as rubbish.
Philippians 4:10-13 (NIV)
I know how to be poor or rich and now I am ready for anything with the help of God.
1. Do you have any ‘mustard seed moments’ in your life presently?
2. But remember, mustard burns when we eat it. Are you prepared for the fact that making ‘mustard seed moments’ might come at some personal cost and even some discomfort?
3. Can you wait with patience for events to play themselves out?
Lord Father God, thank you for this time of prayer that I have undertaken, united with all others who are praying this day.
I am also united to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, burning with love for all creation. In this unity I sit, one of many and one of your beloved.
I ask for the continued help of your Holy Spirit as I end this time of prayer to enter back into the business of my day.
Help me to take the lessons I need from this prayer time today. Help me also to leave behind me anything that I do not need to take with me.
Above all, help me to know that I stay connected to you at all times and that I only need to pause, breathe and pray to become deeply aware of this.