by Carol Dixon
It’s not often living on the north east coast of England that we get the opportunity for sunbathing. Although we have many beautiful beaches, the weather isn’t always conducive to lying on the sand and soaking up the sun. So I was surprised to read some thoughts on Prayer by David Adam, written when he was the vicar on Lindisfarne (often a very cold spot even in summer) advocating the practice. Here’s what he had to say:
Prayer is not so much what we want from God but discovering what he wants to do and is already doing for us. It’s not that we are seeking to change God’s mind, rather it is to open our minds and our lives to his action that is taking place. Often in prayer it is good to begin by opening ourselves to God’s grace and goodness. He offers us healing and peace, He offers us strength, He offers us himself.
We should seek to be still, like a sunbather, soaking in the love and light of the Lord. We should let his great gifts flow into our lives, open ourselves to that offering. Too often we become so uptight and full that nothing can get in. Relax, let go and let God. Know that you are enfolded, encircled by him & his love.” ((c) David Adam Borderlands)
I had an opportunity to put this into practice recently when preparing a time of prayer & reflection for a group I belong to and I invite you to find a comfortable spot and join in a bit of sunbathing with God.
Close your eyes and imagine a beautiful summer’s day… You are lying on a beach under a shady tree listening to the gentle lapping of the waves, sunbathing in God’s love. Feel the warmth of God’s presence permeating your whole being, healing your ills, making you whole. Rest for a moment in his peace……
After a while you notice others whom you know to be in need joining you, arriving one by one, lying on the beach, sunbathing in God’s love. You can name them. You see them bathed in the peace of God, all worries and concerns removed by the warmth of God’s healing presence……
It is time to leave. Jesus raises you gently to your feet and takes you by the hand to the path you are to follow. As he bids you farewell with a smile he says ‘See you again tomorrow, for your sun-ray treatment,’ and you go on your way rejoicing.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we praise you for your healing touch.
We praise you for the peace of Jesus which transforms our lives
and, through us, the lives of the lives of those around.
We praise you for the strength of your Holy Spirit,
filling our inner selves as we walk in Jesus’ way.
We praise you for your presence surrounding us,
protecting us, enlivening us, each day.
May we always remember:
We are encircled by God’s peace and protection,
We are bathed in the light of God’s love in Jesus,
We are strengthened by God’s own Spirit, living in us,
Accompanying us on our journey,
today, tomorrow, and throughout eternity.
Cocooned in God (Tune: I bind unto myself today)
Bathed in our God’s eternal love,
With confidence I face this day,
Uplifted by the peace of Christ
Within me as I rise and pray.
God’s power holds me as I wake,
God’s spirit blesses as I bathe,
Christ sits at table while I eat
And walks with me upon my way.
My Lord is in each daily task,
In every person that I meet,
In random thoughts and idle chat,
He comes to me in all I greet.
God’s presence warms each shop and home,
With each kind word Christ welcomes me;
Should I forget that he is there,
Then signs of God around I see.
I see him in the rolling hills,
In drifting clouds across the sky,
In snail trails on the city streets,
In sound of raindrops, raven’s cry.
In children’s laughter, old man’s smile,
In work-worn hands I glimpse God’s care,
In tear-filled eyes, companion’s kiss;
In all creation, God is there.
Cocooned in God’s eternal love,
I lay aside my cares this day;
Christ’s peace will keep me through the night,
Within me, as I rest and pray. © Carol Dixon altd.
(Original music available from Carol Dixon: email@example.com)