One of the most popular prayers is The Lord's Prayer. And in that prayer we read:
"Hallowed be thy name..."
How is God's name more sanctified than it already is? Be being lived by us.
I was recently reminded by an associate of our society that God is "in us."
This is scriptural, as it says in 1 John 4:14 that "whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in Him."
15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us. (KJV)
Now, one of our responsibilities in this society is not to promote specific doctrine outside of the Apostles' Creed due to our ecumenicalism. But let us acknowledge our commonality and what the Apostles' Creed says:
"I believe in the communion of saints"
We are cheered on by those that have gone before us. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1-2).
And what brings this commonality about? The Spirit of God. And besides love, what signs or evidence are there of this communal relationship?
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galations 5:22-23)
My brothers and sisters, although there may be doctrinal differences between us that are minor, let us concentrate on the items that bring us together: God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit inside of us that gives evidence through our conduct that we are followers of the Saviour.
There is a reason why we pray "Our Father," or "Give us," or "Lead us not." We are a community of believers, both past and present, and in God's time, our future, as others believe and come to Christ in faith and partake of all that is available, gifts, sacraments and fellowship.
who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Sr. Bernadette Maria
We live in an age of "just getting by." It's in human nature to do the absolute minimum. We live in a stressful world with many stressed people. There is a level of entitlement often that screams from individuals that want everything yesterday and want all problems solved in the next three seconds. It is a me-me-me world. And yet, we have those that have dedicated their lives to God that insist on simplicity, values that know when to say no, when enough is enough, and more importantly, insist on solitude and times of prayer.
Prayer not only changes things, but prayer changes the one praying. It allows us to focus away from just getting by to doing something more...to make a sacrifice of time. Prayer is truly a necessity against all the stress in the world today. Prayer says STOP...LISTEN...WAIT.
People ask me how much I pray. And on most days, time wise, I pray about two and a halve hours per day. I have recorded prayers that start my day upon hitting play. I have prayer cds in my car. I have prayer books that I open and read. But the point is not the time. The point is the quality and the dedication to try. There is no required duration or length when we pray.
I know someone who cares for a relative and has literally no time in the day to pray but makes time with a simple "Jesus help me" or "Lord have mercy." Was it not the thief on the cross who simply said, "Lord remember me.." Was it not Peter who cried out, "Lord save me!"
God wants us to connect with Him. But God is more concerned with the effort, not trying to match someone else in what they do. Today, begin your daily prayers, even if it is a simple "God help me today" and begin to turn your life and worries over to the one who knows your heartache and trouble and burden. God is just a prayer away.
Here at the Society Of Prayer, members, after being Associates for six months, have the option to say vows to God, privately, vows of obedience to God, simplicity of life, and chastity. Some of our members are married, and some are not. Some of us are celibate. And sometimes, I get this question about vows. What are private vows?
Private vows are just that...private. They are vows between you and God. They are promises between you and God. You are not vowed to an institution or religion, but to God. And this is important, and it does not minimize the commitment whatsoever. No person can force you to commit an act against your conscience. Your relationship between God is a private matter. That being said, there is an element of "public" about private vows. Just because you make private vows to God, does not mean you are privately a Christian or privately a vowed or dedicated Christian. People will notice the change, which will invite questions, sometimes, even evangelization. Your family will notice the difference as well.
The other day, while at a grocery store, a cashier, noticing my wedding ring and a tired look in my eyes from a cold that I had, told me, "I'm sure your husband is proud of you shopping even though it's late and you had a hard day." I responded, "I hope he is." Of course, I didn't explain that my husband was God and that I was vowed, although the blue cross against my blue shirt was evident.
But seriously, people notice not just a blue cross or any other emblem...people notice if you are a person of prayer. Your attitude is contemplative. Your mannerism is different. Private vows does not mean that in public you don't have to be religious or hide your faith. And yes, sometimes, if employment demands it, we have to confirm to rules, and yet...there is a difference in us...a difference that people see.
Public vows, according to most religions, differ in that they are said formally before an organization and its leaders. But make no mistake, God holds the private vows, promises made to Him, as firm oaths to God. Just because you are not making the promises to a church does not negate the importance whatsoever.
All that being said, this does not negate the honor of those making public vows and entering convents. May God richly bless those making that sacrifice. But here, at the Society of Prayer, we have an option for those that cannot, for whatever reason, enter those institutions, whether because of age or marital status or whatever reason. Here we honor the private vows and offer a place to belong.
May God guide you as you decide how best to service Him in the future.