The summer is rapidly coming to an end as we approach September, and for many of us that lovely holiday is now a distant memory. The schools will be re-opening soon and for families life will settle back into its own routine involving work, rest and play, hopefully in a balanced way.
It is however extremely hard to get that balance right as I’m sure you’ll agree. There’s always so much to do and the different needs of each family member to bear in mind.
In my previous life in the Path Labs at Preston I used to feel like I was on a helter-skelter. On Monday morning I’d be at the top of the slide and then before I knew where I was, I was at the bottom and it was Friday again. Hardly time to notice anything on the way down. The weekend would be there to get you back in position at the top again.
My own rhythm of life has changed somewhat since I came to Blackrod. It’s more like a “Big dipper” with gentle up and downs when I can get my breath and then some really steep climbs and rushes downhill when life is more hectic. However, it’s quite unpredictable and the need to balance work, rest and play still apply. Or perhaps that should be “Work, rest and PRAY”?
I was warned that when life is busy the first thing to go is prayer. It’s true. When you’ve a lot on it’s tempting to put prayer off until later and of course if you’re not careful it gets forgotten altogether. Too busy to pray? Too busy not to pray, should be our motto.
As a priest, the staple of prayer is the Daily Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer. They take about 20 minutes so not a long time. I confess that I am guilty of skipping them from time to time but I do still pray throughout the day; when I wake up I thank God for the new day and ask him to be with me especially if there’s a difficult day ahead. If there’s anyone particularly on my mind I’ll ask God to be with them too.
Throughout the day I’ll send up those arrow prayers as need arises. At the end of the day I like to reflect on the day’s events. Sometimes I write them down in my journal or sometimes I just bring them to mind. If I have a difficult situation writing it down can really help me to sort out my thoughts and feelings and get things in perspective. I think this is also a good way of connecting with God and seeing where he is working in my life and in the wider community.
However, prayer is not all words. We need silence and contemplation if we are to hear God speaking to us. We will all have our favourite places to do this. Perhaps in church before a service or during one of the Open Church times, but then again it might be on a walk, or sitting in the garden, or whilst admiring a beautiful sunset or whilst watching a child sleeping peacefully. (Works with cats too!)
So as we settle back into our daily routines this autumn let’s make it a priority to work, rest and pray. If you have children make prayers part of your routine at bedtime. I have a lovely book called, “Sleeping with Bread,” which encourages families to share the day’s events together and reflect where God is. But there are many other lovely prayer books for children.
Do ask if you want some information about prayer and different ways. Believe me, I’ve tried most of them! It’s finding one that’s right for you that matters.
God bless, Angela.