From the District Superintendent

Posture of Prayer

Posted 15 May, 2018 by Rev. Kathleen Overby Webster

wall100I was immediately struck by two photos I recently saw. One was of Bishop Sharma Lewis praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem during her recent Holy Land Pilgrimage. Another was taken in Chicago as she led the Council of Bishops in prayer at the close of a working session. In both pictures, it was her posture of prayer that struck me.

At the Western Wall (above photo), her hands and forehead were pressed against the ancient stones as she fully leaned into the holy space. bishoppray100In the ballroom turned meeting room in Chicago (photo left), she was leaning forward on her knees, elbows planted on the chair seat in front of her. In her hands she clutched the microphone, but even through the static camera lens I could see the way her whole being was involved in the prayer. It was an extraordinary picture even as the camera panned out to include other bishops in the photo frame, some knelt with heads bowed, while some remained seated with arms uplifted.

Now that the Council of Bishops has released its report to the 2019 Called General Conference and the focus of discernment and decision shifts to those elected delegates, I am going to recall these photos of prayer. Prayer at places marked by historic and ongoing conflict. Prayer among people formed into community despite real theological and ecclesiological differences. Prayer that involves the whole being, body, mind, and spirit. Prayer that leans into the holiness of God in the midst of barriers and brokenness. Prayer that reveals an openness to the on-going work of the Holy Spirit.

Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. (James 5:16, The Message)