" H e y   A l l "
           Notes from the Vicar of Grace
              inclusion service discovery gratitude
The Rev. Bill Harper

Hey All--

I have been praying this week.  Or, I should say that I have been praying more this week, and perhaps even more honestly.  I do often wonder about prayer-how it "works," who's listening, that sort of thing.  Jesus said, when you pray, go into your "closet"-alone.  Don't stand on a street corner or in some public arena for all to see, but go inside, alone, to a "secret" place-and God, who sees and hears those secrets, will then hear your prayer.  So quietly, and alone, in my car; alone at home; I say my prayers.  Ironically, it's hard for me to find that "secret" sanctuary when I'm at Grace.  Grace is my public place, and to pray I want that place that is alone.  The only time that isn't true is a Sunday morning, when together we find that one voice of prayer. 

In any case, there has been reason to pray this week.  More than other weeks?  Not really-I'm just feeling it more.  I think of families struggling with unbelievable life decisions, and I pray.  I step inside hospital rooms, and I pray.  I think of Hospice nurses and the care-givers within our community, and I pray.  And yes, through that prayer, something happens.  More than anything else, prayer for me is a kind of internal navigation-a way to locate myself in the world through a kind of spiritual triangulation.  One point of the triangle is the person or the circumstance that moves me to pray; another point is the One hearing my prayer.  God is somewhere, everywhere, receiving my "signal."  And then, with those two points located, I find myself.  I notice the sound of my voice or the words of my heart-and I sense my truest self.  I feel how much I want someone healed, or a father to know peace, or a husband and wife to find comfort, a mother to know she is good-and a war-all war-to be done.  I pray, and I know heart's desire, and in that knowledge, I change and perhaps, somehow become a vessel through which Light and Grace can flow.  It happens to all of us-when we pray.

This Sunday, with our group of Grace Pilgrims, I will once again venture out into the Wild Wilderness.  Out there we will do what Pilgrims have done for thousands of years-we will be opened to awe and wonder and we will touch our boundaries and meet our limits, and then move past them.  In other words, we will find ourselves "out there," and thereby we will be prayer in action.  As has become our tradition, we will be blessing and sending the Pilgrims at the 9:30 service, and they will collect and carry your prayers with them.  If you are here this Sunday, you can write your prayer and we will bring them with us-and carry them every step of the way until we release them into the Night Sky deep in the Sawtooth Mountains.  And whether you are here this Sunday or not, we will pray for you-in order to find ourselves.  Please pray for us-and each other.

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