February 23, 2021

The Gospel

Jesus said, “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

 

“Pray then in this way:

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come.

Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.

 

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

 

Matthew 6:7–15 (LectionaryPage.net)

The Offering

From Ben Hatley

 

Jesus says “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases…” There were 3 women at my church growing up that I felt had a discernable spiritual grace to them. I looked up to their quiet, peaceful relationship with God and Jesus. They all enjoyed and regularly practiced centering prayer – a practice of contemplative prayer that is meant to be silent, in both spoken word and thought. It can be frustrating at times, especially when the thought of “Oh, I’m doing it!” sneaks in your mind, but it can also be so peaceful and, like it’s name, centering. I’ve copied the steps below. This passage is also the introduction of the Lord’s Prayer, which can follow an intentional centering prayer session as a quiet, rhythmic close.

 

  1. Choose a sacred word or a sacred breath as the symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within.
  2. Sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly and silently introduce the sacred word as the symbol of your consent to God’s presence and action within.
  3. When engaged with your thoughts, return ever-so- gently to the sacred word. Thoughts include body sensations, feelings, images, and reflections.
  4. At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.

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