“Seek Justice” Week of 24/7 Prayer

“In Dutch we have the word “gezellig”.  It can’t be translated into English directly, but basically it means a comfortable, friendly, peaceful atmosphere in a room and/or with a group of people.  This is what we have here”, said Conrad, gesturing around the room.

My Dutch speaking friend and I were just sitting down for an hour of Lectio Divina, which is a contemplative method of reading and praying Scripture.  The lighting was dim.  The couches comfy.  There was a tangible hush in the air – the accumulation of four days of 24/7 prayer had created quite a sanctified atmosphere in our prayer room.  It was comfortable, peaceful and friendly.

We have been collaborating with the True City movement for about four years now www.truecity.ca – exploring ways that churches can pray together for the good of the city.

Last weekend True City had it’s annual gathering, which focused on the theme “Seek Justice”.  There were breakout sessions on Justice Through Prayer, Justice for the Sexually Exploited, Justice and Mental Health Realities, and Poverty, Consumerism and Justice, amongst others.  And for each breakout session had a corresponding prayer station in our prayer room, which we are now running 24/7 for a week after the conference.

True City was also kind enough to produce this wonderful video about prayer rooms and Justice…

One of my favorite things about prayer rooms is that they provide a place where different prayer streams can collide, and where people can explore different prayer languages.  Charismatic extroverts can sing their prayers.  So can Benedictine lay monks!  Folks who like prayer lists and information stations can use them.  Artists can draw their prayers on the canvas that covers part of the floor.  Mystics can meditate.  And we can all do it together.

Warning and Disclaimer! This is a Dangerous Prayer! Pray at Your own Risk…

I’ve got a Lazy Boy chair.  I love it!  Nothing better than putting up my feet after a day’s work and settling into it’s comfy goodness.

It’s a family tradition.  My dad has one too, and more often than not he can be found wrapped in it’s leathery embrace as he reads, meditates or watches his favorite programs.

I associate my Grandfather so strongly with his Lazy Boy, that after he passed away,  instead of going to the cemetery to visit his gravesite, I would just lovingly rub the arm of his Lazy Boy chair in his memory and say “Hi Grandpa”.

I love Lazy Boys!  They’re sooo comfortable!

However, Paul likely didn’t have Lazy Boys in mind when he wrote of “the God of all comfort.”

I believe the spiritual boredom many of us struggle with here in the West finds it’s roots in the Cult of (worship of) Comfort.  And as we nestle into a safe, insulated expression and exploration of our comfy faith we miss the blessing of joining God’s grand adventure.

Recently I spoke at a local church about how to overcome spiritual boredom and reclaim a sense of adventure in our walk with God.  You can listen to it if you like at the link below:

Defeating Spiritual Boredom

During the sermon I shared a link that I love from the movie Wall-ee that provides some wonderful social commentary.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9s7afoYI-M

I ended with a prayer of repentance and renunciation of the Cult of Comfort.  Warning and Disclaimer!  This is a dangerous prayer, so pray at your own risk….

Heavenly Father,

We renounce the Cult of Comfort in all of it’s guises.

Forgive us for our consumerist approach to church, where we shop around to find a community of faith that meets our needs, and move on to another when we feel uncomfortable.

Forgive us for creating a circle around us of people who are like us, for gathering in homogenous groupings and excluding those who are different than us or who make us feel uncomfortable.

Forgive us for the individualization of our religious experience, for making our relationship with you all about us and not about the larger covenant community of the church and our communities where we live.

Forgive us for our adherence to false doctrines of safety, where we believe that nothing bad should happen to us if we are following and obeying you.

Forgive us for our over commitment to bricks and mortar and the creation of a comfy space to gather and our under commitment to sharing our resources with those in need.

Forgive us for our spiritual immaturity, for our dislike of being challenged, stretched and made uncomfortable by Biblical teaching designed for our growth.

Forgive us for our demandingness and entitlement, for the way we believe that the church owes us, the pastor owes us, and God, you owe us …… (fill in your own blank).

Forgive us for the ways we have confused the American/Canadian Dream with the Kingdom of God, and for the ways we have exported that confusion abroad to other nations.

Lord, may we have the courage to shed our cultural idolatry.  Father you comfort the afflicted and You afflict the comfortable.  We welcome you to afflict us where You see fit, knowing that you discipline the ones you love, the sons (and daughters) in whom You delight.  Conform us into Your image and give us the courage to carry our cross daily and to live lives where we give ourselves away, the way that Your Son did.

In the name of your Son Jesus, who we proclaim not only as Saviour, but Lord of our lives.

Amen

***this blog was written from the comfort of my Lazy Boy chair (grin)