Is God Always There?

By Paul Dumbrille

If your experience of prayer is anything like mine, at times you wonder if God is really there when you pray. Sometimes we have a deep sense of God’s presence, and sometimes we have no sense of the Divine reality. We can’t imagine that God exists. Sometimes we have deep feelings about God’s goodness and love, and sometimes we feel only boredom and distraction. Sometimes our eyes become teary, and sometimes they wander to our wristwatch to see how much more time we still need to spend in prayer. Sometimes we would like to stay in our place of prayer forever, and sometimes we can hardly wait to look at our smartphone. Prayer has a huge ebb and flow.
Continue reading “Is God Always There?”

Prayer and Place

By Paul Dumbrille

Does it matter where we pray? Yes and no. If one trusts that God is in everything and everything is in God, then God is available to us in prayer at any time and in any place. The important thing is not where we pray, but that we pray, and in what spirit it is done. However, my experience, and the experience of many others over time, is that physical place makes a difference. The outer place impacts our ability to tap into our inner space, where we can more easily access the Divine Presence. In seeking a meaningful relationship with God through prayer, it can be helpful to ask ourselves some questions related to space and place. Where are we most comfortable in prayer? What does our prayer space look like? We may find that the place or the space we normally use for prayer is no longer working for us. Maybe there are distractions within our spaces and places of prayer that did not initially exist. In past eras when crime inside churches was rare, the church sanctuaries were open most, if not all, of the time, ready for anyone with spiritual needs to come in and pray in peace. Sadly, the fears, expense, staffing and effort to keep churches always open today is too much for most congregations. But then, where can we pray? Anywhere, but often our lives and our world get in the way. There is still a need for a place to go, set aside for prayer, set up to help us in the act of praying. Continue reading “Prayer and Place”

“Those who wait upon the Lord . . “

In a world of frenetic busyness, how can we cultivate the ability to wait upon the Lord?   How does waiting for God in prayer lead me to ‘renew my strength?’  What does the call to wait mean for the Church today?

Join the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer as they discuss how the discipline of waiting can enhance our experience of God in prayer.


November 25th, 2017
9:15am – 3:30pm
St. Francis, Airdrie
132 Albert St SE, Airdrie,

 A free will offering will be taken to cover the cost of lunch lovingly provided by the people of St. Francis.  Please mention all dietary restrictions at the time of registration.

Register today!

Register by e-mail at:

bettynadurak@gmail.com

RISKING EVERYTHING

Scripture for reflection: The Book of Esther

We are surrounded by dazzling power. The Persian empire is at its height, one hundred and twenty seven provinces from Ethiopia to India. At the centre of power is Ahasuerus, king in his capital at Susa.

The empire is celebrating a royal marriage. The emperor has chosen a bride. Esther, niece of a prominent Jewish leader named Mordecai, has been elevated to a position of immense influence.

Precisely at this moment Esther’s life becomes complicated by a threat to the Jewish community. A dangerous and powerful member of the court named Haman is determined to institute a pogrom that will have tragic consequences. To read Haman’s words to the king is to hear the chilling patterns of anti-Semitism down the centuries.

“There are a certain people scattered and separated in all the provinces of your kingdom. Their laws are different from those of every other people. They do not keep the king’s laws, so it is not appropriate for the king to tolerate them”. Only after this careful and nuanced statement does Haman lay bare his real intention in plain and brutal language. “If it please the king,” he continues, “let a decree be issued for their destruction”.

The king agrees, opening the way to the deaths of tens of thousands of people.

Mordecai desperately contacts his niece. Only she can get the king to rescind his decree. The request deeply distresses her. She has not revealed to the king that she is Jewish. Now she must choose between losing everything or remain silent while her people are destroyed.

Through a messenger Esther contacts her uncle. He responds by sending her the documents that Haman has written that condemn all Jews to death. Esther responds. Her reply is full of anxiety and helplessness. She cannot go to the king unless he summons her. Again Mordecai replies. His note is stern and adamant. Its language is chillingly modern, echoing many voices that spoke before and during Hitler’s holocaust.

“Do not think that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s family will perish”. Then, with unerring precision Mordechai pinpoints the heart of the matter for Esther. “Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this”.

This magnificent message with its implied reference to Esther’s own integrity has the desired effect. Esther agrees to go to the king. She makes it clear that she has no illusions about the possible consequences. “I will go to the king”, she writes to her uncle, “even though it is against the law. If I perish, I perish.”

Three days later Esther makes her move. Dressing in the grandeur of her royal robes, she waits in a gallery where the king is likely to see her. Her plan succeeds. Esther does not bring up the subject of the pogrom at this point. Instead she asks that the king invite Haman to a banquet that is being planned. . During the banquet the king asks Esther the nature of her request. Without mentioning the king’s own decree she offers evidence for Haman’s hatred and treachery as the real reason for the threat to her people.

Hastily the king rescinds his decree, sending messages across the empire. Haman is summarily executed. Esther’s uncle Mordechai is given the royal signet ring that makes him a powerful figure at court.

In this long ago political struggle, scripture gives us a glimpse of a people struggling to survive. It also introduces us to a courageous and resourceful young woman who placed duty above personal gain, even above personal survival.

Herbert O’Driscoll

B.C. Anglicans among those displaced by wild fires

Friends:

I have had a chance to talk to Bishop Barbara Andrews in the Territory of the Peoples area of British Columbia. Her diocese sits in the heart of the raging forest fires. She has asked that AFP members offer particular prayers for Williams Lake as another lightning storm is heading their way. There are about 1000 people in her diocese and every one of them has been affected in some way. Many parishes are offering shelter to those displaced . Please remember all of their communities in your daily prayers.

Archdeacon A. Paul Feheley,

Principal Secretary to the Primate,
National Director of The Anglican Fellowship of Prayer

BC Anglicans among those displaced by wild fires – from the Anglican Journal

The Daily Office Evening Prayer for July 13

Prayers for Canada Day

From Stephen Reynolds Book For All the Saints

Canada Day 1 July Canada Day is a national holiday, not a feast of the Church; and yet it is right that we Christians offer prayer and thanksgiving today, because all the good things which we enjoy as Canadians have their origin as gifts of God. The resources of our land and the oceans which border it, our diversity as Canadian people, the heritage of Confederation and our nation’s continuing efforts to ensure peace and justice for all its citizens — all these things call the Church to remember and celebrate the God who gave them. At the same time, we as the people of the Church must accept an immense responsibility as citizens of Canada. We believe that divine grace seeks to fulfill what divine power has created. We are the servants of this saving purpose of God: we do not leave the concerns of Canadian society behind us when we enter our churches; we enter our churches in order to gain fresh strength for the work of making God’s justice, compassion, and wisdom ever more present in the life of our nation. On Canada Day, our task is to dedicate ourselves to the mission of bringing all our country’s resources — natural and human — within the circle of God’s redemptive love in Jesus Christ.

(From the Canadian Book of Alternate Services)

Collect Almighty God, whose wisdom and whose love are over all, accept the prayers we offer for our nation. Give integrity to its citizens and wisdom to those in authority, that harmony and justice may be secured in obedience to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

There are also two collects in our Book of Common Prayer

O GOD, who providest for thy people by thy power, and rulest over them in love: Vouchsafe so to bless thy servant our Queen, and her Government in this Dominion of Canada, that thy people may dwell in peace and safety, and thy Church serve thee in all godly quietness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O GOD, who didst lead the fathers of our nation into this land of Canada, and hast increased us by thy favour: Grant, we beseech thee, that we who now enter into their inheritance, may prove ourselves a people mindful of thy mercies and ready to do thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Inventory

Prayer Matters

Paul Dumbrille

Does it Matter if We “Take Stock” of our Prayer Life?

I think it does. Regardless of the way we pray, or how often we pray, God does not want our relationship with Him to stay the same. He desires us to come closer to Him and to grow in our love for Him, for others, and for ourselves. It is therefore appropriate that from time to time we “take stock” of how we are communicating with God, and how our relationship is developing. This article will ask you to pose a number of questions to yourself. There are no right or wrong answers. The results are intended to provide food for thought and in the hope that you will be spurred to take stock, and make changes if they are necessary to improve your relationship with God.
Continue reading “Inventory”

Intercession Preparation

Prayer Matters

Paul Dumbrille

Does it matter that I prepare ahead of time to lead Prayers of the People?

Yes, I believe it does. It matters that the person who leads the prayers has an understanding of the purpose of the prayers, their place in the liturgy and the role of the Intercessor.

In a previous article of Prayer Matters, I wrote that Intercession is a relationship in which we share our concerns with each other and with God. It is appropriate that we should hold before God those people and situations in need of prayer. The Intercessory prayers should focus on God’s reconciling, transforming, and healing love. The Prayers of the People are the prayers offered as a Christian community. The worshipping community’s prayers are an expression of our belief that people, and the circumstances in the world that affect the human family, can be touched and changed through Jesus Christ and the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. The prayers are given shape both by our awareness of human need and the Gospel vision of God’s Kingdom.

Continue reading “Intercession Preparation”

Intercessions

Prayer Matters

Paul Dumbrille

Does it matter that I pray for others?

Yes. I believe that it does. It matters not only in our Anglican worship services where we traditionally include “Intercessions” or “Prayers of the People”, but also in our daily lives. Several years ago, a friend asked me: “Why do we pray every week for peace in the Middle East when history shows us that people have been fighting each other for thousands of years and the prayers for peace over the centuries have not made any difference?” How you would answer that question? The question caused me to think deeply about why we pray intercessory prayers for others.
Continue reading “Intercessions”