Our theme this year at IHS has been "Master, Teach Us to Pray" and we've been focusing on learning about prayer and practicing prayer. We've been saying all program-year-long that prayer is the most important tool in the Christian toolbox for our daily struggle against our Enemy, the Devil.
There is no greater proof of the importance of prayer than this COVID-19 health crisis we're all living through. Most of us are quarantined in some way in our homes. Many are out of work. Some people are experiencing isolation and loneliness. Others are scared. Folks are feeling vulnerable, and uncertain of what the future will bring.
A crisis like COVID-19 is in many ways about preparedness and response: how were we prepared to handle this situation, and how will we respond to it during the crisis. The hope is that we will become vigilant as communities and as a society so that we're more prepared in the future for an epidemic or pandemic.
As Christians this is one way we can look at prayer. Prayer is not just for times of crisis or emergency. We practice prayer every day, because if we do, we'll be more prepared for when crisis arises. That is not the only reason we practice prayer every day, but our prayer life is a deeper well to draw on for resilience and peace during a crisis if we are already practicing prayer before a time of hardship comes.
During the COVID-19 crisis, in many ways prayer is all we have left. As we're staying in our homes and relying on phones and the internet to worship together, liturgy is quickly becoming individual and family practices of prayer at home.
What happens when prayer is all we have left? That is the beauty that God is bringing out of the darkness of these days. Our God is the God of creating good from the bad, and one good coming out of this time is that we are all learning to practice our faith more deeply at home, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Prayer is not simply a quaint practice to feel better about our situation, it is communing with the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Creator of all things and Source of all Life. When we commune with him in prayer, we draw on the deepest well imaginable for peace, love, and indeed community. And so we are never alone, no matter how isolated and quarantined we may be, when we pray to the God of Creation.
What happens when prayer is all we have left? We realize that prayer is really all we ever had, drawing closer to our Source of Life and Love. The compassionate heart of Jesus is longing for us to drawer closer to Him during this time, and to lift up our concerns and the deepest, most secret thoughts of our hearts to Him. If we do, we will be closer to Him and to each other than we imagined possible. May we all find that source of peace now and always.