The time when Jesus walked on water points us to our view of
our Savior. When the disciples were in a boat during a storm, Jesus came toward
them walking on the water. They said it was a ghost as first. But Jesus let
them know, “It Is I!” We have times in our lives when we don’t recognize Jesus
and we think he is something other than he is. We often think of Jesus as some
sort of spiritual body floating around in the air, but as Jesus himself would
reveal, he has flesh and blood like any other human on earth. He is fully human
and fully divine.
When Peter asked to come out onto the water to Jesus, Jesus said, “Come,” and for a time Peter was walking out on the water toward Jesus. This shows that it is the power of Christ within the human body that can make miracles happen. It also shows that this activity is not happening to ghosts. It is happening to real flesh-and-blood people.
But then Peter is distracted by the waves and the wind and
the water and starts to sink. This shows that it is focusing on the power of
Christ in our lives that keeps us moving forward. Once we look away from
Christ, things start to go downhill. Yet even as Peter is sinking, Jesus
reaches out his hand to pull Peter out of the water. This shows that even when
things are going downhill and we are pulling away from Christ, Christ is still
there to pull us toward him and bring us back in union with and in faith in
Jesus says to Peter at this moment, “O ye of little faith.”
Jesus makes it clear that it is our lack of faith that pulls us away from him.
We plead to keep ourselves strong in faith given to us through the Holy Spirit
to keep us close and connected to Jesus. After Jesus has rescued Peter, he and
Peter board the boat and Jesus stills the storm.
It is a time to recognize that Jesus has come to earth and
not just for the individual in danger but for all who are enveloped in the
storms of life. Jesus’ stilling of the storm saved thousands.
We all know how important prayer is in the Christian life. Then why is it so hard to do sometimes? One thought I had is that I find myself at a loss as to how to go about it. A prayer book from my alma mater, Valparaiso University, lays out 6 types of prayers to consider when you are not sure of how to start the prayer process. Take a look at these prayer patterns and think of ways to incorporate one or more of them into your schedule on a regular basis.
Examen prayer: This is the deliberate examination of God’s presence or absence in one’s life. The practice involves sitting quietly and asking the Holy Spirit to make you aware of Christ’s presence with you at that moment. Consider how you have not noticed or been mindful of Christ. Make confession of your unawareness of him. Ask for increased awareness of his presence, Give thanks for Christ’s presence with you.
Praying the Scriptures: In this practice, you identify a section of Scripture you wish to pray, like the Psalms. You find a quiet place to read the Scripture. You reflect on what the Scripture is saying to you and pray that the Holy Spirit will give you a greater understanding of God’s Word and its impact on your life.
Intercessory prayer: This type of prayer focuses on praying for the needs of others. In this approach you make a list of individuals and their specific needs. You organize your prayer into types of requests: for the sick, for those celebrating, for those going through hard times. Praying for others takes the focus off of yourself and puts anything that is going on in your own life in perspective.
Lectio Divina: We have mentioned this type of prayer before in this blog, but it is worth revisiting. It is a type of prayer from monastic tradition that involves reflecting on or ruminating over a single verse, phrase or word from Scripture and letting the meaning of that selection wash over you and fill you with greater knowledge of God.
Silence prayer: Go to a quiet place to pray. In silence we become more receptive to the voice of God. We allow him to speak to us in the quietness and do not clutter our minds with our own words or opinions. Focus on your breathing. Let your mind center on an image for God like a cross or a candle. Calm your body down and feel God’s love surround you.
Walking the sacred path: Take a walk as a prayer. Walking a labyrinth or other path as a prayer has been the topic of a blog post before as well. The purpose of this type of prayer is to physically walk a designated path of some kind. Think of your prayer during your walk as a journey, with a beginning, a middle and and ed. Reflect on what you see. Really listen to the environment around you. Feel the motion of your body and walk with purpose as you pray. Imagine God walking with you. Let him speak to you along the way.
These are great ways to expand your prayer life and grow in your connection to God.
During Lent this year, I am reading the book Walking the Labyrinth by my good friend Travis Scholl. In it he tells of a Lent several years ago in which he walked the winding path of a labyrinth in a churchyard near his home every day of the sacred season.
Scholl describes how the weather, the surroundings, his mood changed each time he walked the labyrinth reflecting and praying. I imagine in my mind’s eye a kind of movie montage of different scenes behind Scholl as he makes his same labyrinth walk each day.