Pray, read, worship, study, serve, give and tell!
Does this sound familiar to you?
Shortly after I was first elected as National Bishop, I called our church into spiritual renewal and invited us all to (say it with me)—pray, read, worship, study, serve, give and tell.
This call to deepen our discipleship is something I am very passionate about.
I grew up in a family that was very focussed on devotional life—prayers, reading scripture, attending worship, generous giving, service in the community and in the world. This was all part of what shaped me and how I learned to respond in faith to God’sabundant grace, love and mercy.
I want so much for everyone in our church to experience how the whole way we live our lives can express our faith and love for God.
I’m grateful for everyone who engaged in the Call to Spiritual Renewal but I know there is still much room for us all to grow in this area of our faith lives.
I’ve been reflecting on this for a while and it feels as though it is time to come back to this call and revisit it with a renewed sense of energy and a fresh vision.
Which is why I am inviting the entire church to join me in a new four-year emphasis on Living our Faith, as together we pray, read, worship and love.
Starting this September, we begin a year of prayer. As a whole church I want us to learn about prayer, grow in prayer, and deepen our regular prayer practice.
A year from now, September 2020, we will move on to a year of reading and learning about scripture together. September 2021, we will focus on a year of worship and private devotion. And September 2022 will bring us into a year of focusing on how we respond to God’s grace and mercy by living lives of full love.
As we begin this first year, we will be sharing weekly encouragements and more in-depth monthly pieces on our website, in our newsletter from the National Office, and on social media. I hope you will find these helpful and that you will share them with others in your family, your congregation and community. Perhaps you can consider how you might provide opportunities and encouragement for people to pray with each other. Or share with others what guides your prayer practices.
I know for me there is no one way to pray. I pray frequently but there is no set time or way that I pray. Mostly I try to find the opportunities that arise for prayer—doing the dishes, going for a walk, reading thenewspaper.
Sometimes the opportunity comes about during a quiet time, and sometimes it finds its way through the loud instruction of what is happening the world.
My hope for this first year of Living our Faithis that this will encourage all of us to feel more comfortable talking about prayer and praying with each other. Wouldn’t it be amazing to be known as the church that really knows how to pray?
Thank you for your support of Living our Faith as together we (say it with me)—pray, read, worship and love!
National Bishop Susan Johnson
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada