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Prayer In A Time Of Lockdown

Author: Fr Chris Thomas

Picture: Pixabay

Prayer In A Time Of Lockdown

How do we pray when all seems uncertain, as in these days of Covid-19? It's all about receiving, and basking in, God's love, says Fr Chris Thomas.

One of my friends is a poet and artist called John, who lives very simply in a small, terraced house. It’s very difficult to make arrangements with him because he sees no need for a diary or watch. John has a wonderful relationship with God and has said to me that prayer is simply opening yourself to the mystery that is God and allowing God to respond to you. That, for John, is enough.

I believe prayer is time spent gazing at God and trusting that God is gazing upon us and delighting in us. God is fiercely in love with us with a passion and an intensity which is almost frightening, an intensity with which I’m not sure we can always cope. 

Read the Song of Songs: some of the songs and imagery would make a navvy blush. Yet it reminds us that God is our lover, with the single- minded delight that a lover has for the beloved. 

It is this truth that makes Paul break out in song in Romans chapter 8, as he says there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that can separate us from the love of God. So God, because of love, simply wants to be with us, just to while away the hours.

Rich, Vibrant, Pulsating Life

Our life with God is not just about saying prayers, filling the space with empty words which make us feel good. It’s not about words that are meant to appease a God who demands that we pray.

Nor is it that we pray so that our needs might be fulfilled. It is certainly not so that we can get into heaven or avoid hell. It is simply being in the presence of God because God is God, and in God, there is real life- rich, vibrant, pulsating life.

In these days of Covid-19, I have found that simply being with God-not saying words or asking for anything- has calmed my soul, and enabled me to live relatively peacefully during this pandemic. Somehow God is enough.

Each day some silence has allowed me to be at peace. As a naturally anxious person, that is gift. Life becomes a dance of love with God where we enter into the rhythm and dynamism of the trinity, and the life that is shared there.

A Heightened Awareness Of God's Presence

Entering into that reality means we come to see completely differently than we might have done otherwise.

There is a heightened awareness of the presence of God everywhere, even in those moments and people we would rather run away from. It implies that we take time to savour the gift of creation and each other.

That encounter means that we are slowly freed by God from judging, blaming and scapegoating, which seem to be the tenets on which the world exists. We live with a sense of joy in the sheer gift of being alive.  

All of that can happen in these days. God is enough for us. Take time to encounter God, and find life in its fullness. 

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