Today, we turn to the hymn, Praise to the Living God to engage and encounter ways we might deepen our relationship to the divine. We are letting the words of the poetry and prayers of hymns help us encounter the Holy. All four verses are worth slowly savoring and seeing what stirs within you. But I draw your attention to the fourth and final verse:
Praise to the living God, around, within, above. Beyond the grasp of human mind, but whom we know as love. In these tumultuous days, so full of hope and strife, May we bear witness to the Way, O Source and Goal of life.
Pause, what images of the divine are within these words? Name them aloud right now to your computer screen.
I hear God who swirls and stirs; dances within me and beyond me. I hear God as love that can hold the tumult and tension of these days. I hear God who is both the Source – the One who breathes in the breath of life – as well as the Goal of my life. That last one really sets my soul in new directions. How can God both Sustain my life right now and also let my relationship with God be the Goal of life? What if how I connect with God today is the way we measure faithfulness as a church (as opposed to how many people attended worship or budget or other outward ways we define success)?
I invite you to read all the verses of this hymn with open hearts and imaginations. Find ways to let the hymn impact and influence how you pray the Lord’s Prayer. Find a prayer partner who you can converse with so that prayer isn’t just an isolated and individual activity. I pray you are finding heart-warming and soul-stirring ways to let our hymnal shape your prayer life this week.
Prayer: Let praise be woven into our prayers today, O God. Let the Lord’s Prayer fall from our lips with new emphasis and enthusiasm and energy, as if we were excitedly learning how to pray right from Jesus. Amen.