St James Anglican Church

Notes from the Clergy

We are called during Lent to a time of renewed prayer. But often we are confused as to why do we pray, and what good does it do anyway.

Julian of Norwich describes us humans as being in such a muddle about ourselves and the world we lose sight of who we are and what we are to do in this life. In her writings Julian reminds us that God made our souls to be his dwelling place and we are lost and incomplete without God. St. Augustine put it, “Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu writes, “We are created by God like God but ultimately for God. To worship and adore God. That is what we exist for. That is our purpose in having been created. But now, quite clearly, not all know this thing – that they have been created to love and worship and adore and serve God.”

So why do we pray? To remember who we are. And some of our prayers are for those who have forgotten who they are. Remember the friends who carried the paralyzed man to Jesus for healing? They dug through the roof and lowered the bed into the room. Jesus healed the man because of the faith of those friends. The man then rose, took up his bed and walked.

Jesus also reminded his disciples that they were the salt of the earth. They were not the entire meal but enough to preserve food from going bad. They were the leaven, enough to let the dough to rise. Father Hugh Bishop, who at one time was the superior of the Community of Resurrection said, “You know, it is this Order, and people such as the ones who are educated in and practice the life of prayer who in fact hold the universe together.”

We pray because this is what we were created to do and be. We pray to remember who we are and we pray to be the salt and the leaven in the loaf of bread that is this world and this universe. So however you pray, however insufficient you fear your prayers might be, do not doubt that your prayers help to “hold the universe together.”

Mother Alexis Saunders