Ok - moment of honesty. I'm a chronically late person, and I'm terrible at deadlines. I'm also in a pretty sustained period of stress-induced writers block. I'm in the middle of writing at least five different blogs, three of which are for this space, but I can't seem to finish one.
Despite all of those things, I have a deadline set for today by my dragon of a managing editor (full disclosure: his name rhymes with Bat Bailey) and I need to deliver. So with that in mind, here's an update on my November blog:
I still don't like to pray
...but I'm trying harder.
For the original blog, click here.
I've never received more feedback on a piece of writing than I did on "I don't like to pray." - which tells me two things: 1. People appreciate truth, and 2. Other people feel like I do. That is unbelievably comforting as both a dedicated seeker of truth and someone who struggles consistently with imposter syndrome. I don't think I ever understood how common of an issue prayer is in the modern church; I grew up around "prayer warriors" and I just thought that was how everyone over 25 treated prayer. (SPOILERS: I'm 26, and I haven't hit prayer warrior status.) So as a reminder - if you feel like prayer just doesn't come naturally for you, you're not alone. The blog linked above has some great resources, but I wanted to share a bit of my progress as well.
- I've recently attended a few Centering Prayer groups (More Info), and I've found that centering prayer is really my cup of tea. Centering Prayer is a practice defined by silence, which on the outside sounds terrifying to most people but is unbelievably comforting to me as an introvert who is constantly surrounded by extroverts, music, and loud noises. I've found centering prayer to be a welcome addition to my week, though it's hard to do alone without a large amount of discipline.
- I've continued to enjoy Shane Claiborne's Book of Common Prayer, and the February readings and prayers have been unbelievably insightful, especially in light of the current political climate. A prayer that has stuck out for me: "Lord, remind us that it is not always agitated uprisings and nonstop activity which lead to justice, but that change often comes through the quiet commitment of a small group of people. Help us raise our small body of people to set about quietly becoming the change we want to see in the world. Amen."
- And finally, here's the prayer I've been praying this week, in the midst of some personal turmoil, courtesy of the 2017 Abington Worship Annual:
Choosing life sounds like such an easy thing to do,
yet it always ends up being difficult.
Choosing life means letting go of our resentments.
It means forgiving the injuries we have received.
It means taking the high road.
It means we are called to be better,
that we may receive the blessings
that true life bestows.
Matt Dailey serves as Worship Director at Navarre UMC, and has been at the church since 2013. When he's not leading worship and designing graphics, he enjoys baseball, comic books and team trivia (his team is nationally ranked. #micdrop). Read more about Matt here.