I was really struck by this section of Albert’s prayer in our Daily Worship this morning:
“Walk with us Father
Be in our headphones
Speak a word of hope
May your Kingdom come
Taking a song
A news item
And turning it into
What a brilliant idea: taking the everyday stuff of our downtimes and journey times, when we find ourselves waiting on a bench, standing at the platform, or rushing to the station and weaving it into prayer — an offering to God. People often say that beauty in nature or transcendent works of art prompt a spiritual response but we can also respond spiritually to the everyday, the ordinary, the pulse of life going on all around us. The grandeur of the natural world and the power of great art are effective ways of reminding us of God’s presence but they are not the only way. If we only ever reach out to God in the grandness then we will miss what God is doing next door, or over the road, or in an infinitesimal speck floating between us now.
God works on every level, at every scale, at every point on the continuum. God is with us as we stand surveying a beautiful mountain sunset taking sweet deep breaths and next to us on the bus as we hover, half crouched ungainly and awkward, deciding which stop to get off at. Many of us want to fill every moment of our days with a bit of content — we are reading and watching and listening to so much. It’s good to be informed but it’s also easy to get overwhelmed. Albert’s prayer invites us to take the everyday media of our lives and offer it to God in the form of a prayer. A beautiful ancient hymn might move you to tears, but so might a casual throw away line in a recent pop song. A book of theology might change how we see God but so might a comic podcast where two mates have a laugh about football.
Let’s not compartmentalise our lives into the spiritual and the mundane, but instead invite the spiritual into the mundane. And when we do we’ll find out that the spiritual is already there waiting for us…
Here’s some suggestions for how you might want to do this:
- Look up the news on your phone, but each time you finish reading an article turn it into a prayer (perhaps of gratitude, hope or lament) just a short simple prayer such as “God this worries me, guide us in this situation” or “God this amazes me and I’m so grateful”
- Next time you listen to a song, or a podcast, or a radio programme think about the emotions it stirred up in you — excitement? Dread? Wonder? Curiosity? Boredom? Then ask God what you should do with these emotions through the rest of the day? (maybe let them go, continue to wrestle with them, or look into the issue more?)
- If you would normally have earphones in when out and about (or would normally be looking things up on your phone while sitting on a train or bus say) take five or ten minutes to take your headphones out, put your phone down and be in the moment — ask God to make you more alert to what is happening in the world and perhaps ask where you can join in the work of the Spirit