Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Deepening our life of prayer

April 14, 2014 11:00 AM


By Sarah Gioe

Photos by Bob Williams


"As individuals, our communication with God is different from one person to the other," said Deacon Patty Avila. "Prayer should be an individual design of communication with our father with the certainty that his great love is the same for all of us."


prayerpanelMany diverse forms of prayer were on display on March 22 at "Lord, Teach Us to Pray," a day set aside to pray and to learn more about prayer. Over 70 participants from around our synod came to Wartburg’s Mount Vernon campus to nurture their understanding of prayer through worship together, a panel discussion on prayer practices, and a variety of workshops. Led by synod pastors, spiritual directors, and lay leaders, the ten workshops spanned topics from "Praying in Color" to "Enhancing the Prayer Life of Youth" and "Embodied Prayer through Yoga," covering matters such as faith formation, creation care, and social ministry. There was time for contemplative, quiet prayer at the morning service and jubilant, expressive prayer at the afternoon service.


prayerflagsNow colorful strips of cloth decorated with prayers for the church flutter in the synod office chapel as a reminder of the day spent together. Participants asked for more such opportunities to gather and learn. "One of the prayer practices that we loved and would like to use in our congregation is prayer with our bodies, especially while singing, just like we did at the closing service," said Deacon Avila, who came with a group from Ascension, Deer Park. The congregation has a strong prayer ministry and recently began a Spanish prayer group on Saturdays.


prayerserviceThe activities at "Lord, Teach Us to Pray" were designed to motivate people to plan for our synod’s upcoming Pentecost Weekend of Prayer. Through the work of the Claimed Committee of our strategic plan, we encourage all people of our synod to create diverse occasions for prayer on June 7 and 8, as we celebrate the Vigil of Pentecost (a rather overlooked festival in the church year) and Pentecost. The hope is that we can join together—in various formats and styles—for the Holy Spirit to guide us more deeply into the faith to which we are called "for such a time as this." As the day of prayer set the stage for our Pentecost observances, the weekend of prayer will also lay the foundation for "Growing Deeply in Faith: Five Years of God’s Creative Grace, "a five-year long emphasis on faith commitment that is integral to our strategic plan.


teachustopray2Our prayer is that the Holy Spirit will take you and the people in your local communities deeper into the life of prayer. It’s the power of the Spirit blowing through our prayers that gives us the energy to faithfully engage in mission and ministry in the world.


View photos from "Lord, Teach Us to Pray" here.




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