Daily Worship

Precious time

Katy Emslie-Smith February 28, 2020 0 1
Image credit: Unsplash
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Matthew 6: 1-6 (NIVUK)

1 ‘Be careful not to practise your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2 ‘So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

5 ‘And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

“At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless; neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is.” 

These are words of T.S. Eliot the poet, from his poem ‘Burnt Norton’.

While his poem is a reflection on the nature of time, these words have always spoken to me of capturing the essence of prayer, time spent alone with God, stilled and drawn back to enter into listening conversation, dialogue with Him. Such precious time which is “neither flesh nor fleshless” as we touch in to God’s dimension with all our own humanity; where eternity meets our time bound lives and we connect with the immense reality of God’s love, mercy, grace and compassion; where we discover the nature of his workings in our world and how we are to engage with those — “the dance”. 

Jesus encourages us not to squander this gift by practicing prayer in public looking for approval from people. Rather he gives opportunity to experience this most intimate of relationships with God, in the quiet place, alone and unseen. He offers the chance to experience the time and place where heaven and earth embrace. Perhaps this is reward enough. 


Father God,
Thank you for the rewarding gift of prayer,
Where all we are meets with all you are,
The dance.

Lent Disciplines

The Transforming Quiet: Every day this week spend 5 minutes in silence. Take a moment to still yourself before God and rest. Don't feel any pressure to think about anything in particular. Don’t worry if you get distracted. After spending five minutes in silence you may feel like saying a prayer but it's up to you. Take the time to be in the silence before carrying on with the rest of your day.