Wednesday, 20 January 2010

All prayed out?

There were times when I was in pastoral ministry when I felt that I only really prayed when I prayed aloud to lead others in prayer. It was as if prayer only held that deeper feeling for me when leading worship. I used to worry about that, rightly so too I think. It is easy for pastors to get so used to leading worship that they never allow themselves time to receive, to pray in an ordinary way.
Today I have been praying in public rather alot - two big services in one late afternoon and evening. Our friend Karin Achtelstetter was ordained to the Word and Sacrament of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bavaria and it was a real privilege to lead the service with her bishop Ark Nitsche. Sometimes worship just works and this did, in a great mix of French, German and English with some touches of Portuguese and totally amazing music led by Terry Macarthur.
Then I went on to lead the local francophone Week of Prayer for Christian Unity combined service, which also featured stunning music, a good sermon by Christine Housel from WSCF and a liturgy that simply seemed to flow. It is a particular blessing when worship does the job of grounding heaven on earth and lifting earth more heavenwards in gentle, non-glitzy, real sorts of ways.
I was physically exhausted and so grateful a friend drove me home afterwards, but I didn't feel all prayed out, I sort of felt all prayed up: filled with something unnamed and beautiful - the Spirit perhaps ...
Given how the night turned out this was just as well ...