Week Five: Welcoming Prayer.

It's Week Five of practicing a new spiritual discipline, something Adele Calhoun calls 'Welcoming Prayer.' And let me tell you, this has been a sweet and dear practice.

Stained glass at a local Anglican church.
To me, it's a reminder of the precious moment Mary said "Welcome, Jesus, welcome."

So, overview:

"Desire: to welcome Jesus into every part of my life, body, circumstances and relationships

Definition: Welcoming prayer is a way to detach from my need to be secure, liked and in control, and attach to the presence of Jesus instead."
(Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, pg. 287).

Additionally, she describes that a 'welcoming prayer' can be as simple as uttering, "Welcome, Jesus, welcome" (pg. 287).

So that's just what I decided to do – pray, "Welcome, Jesus, welcome" at various times throughout my day. It was a prayer I was aware of throughout the week, and whenever I felt nervous or lonely or confused or stressed, it bubbled forth from my heart: "Welcome, Jesus, welcome."

Though three simple words, they bent my heart towards deeper and fuller attention of Jesus' presence in my life. Here's some specific moments I prayed this prayer:
  • When I was nervous merging onto the highway: Welcome, Jesus, welcome
  • When I was about to hop on the treadmill to exercise: Welcome, Jesus, welcome
  • When I opened up my homework to read: Welcome, Jesus, welcome
  • When I was getting ready for bed: Welcome, Jesus, welcome
*  *  *  *  *

I was shocked (and not so shocked) to notice that as I kept my attention focused on practicing this prayer, my focus was repeatedly turned towards Jesus – how His presence could be so tangibly felt if only I chose to be aware of Him. Usually when I am nervous or lonely or confused or stressed, my first thought is to sink deeper into those feelings instead of asking Jesus to be present to me in the midst of them.

By choosing to welcome Him into some of the most mundane moments, I started to taste the fruit Calhoun talks about:
  • "Increases awareness of triggers and the things that drive and control you
  • Ability to let go of the agenda and risk on God
  • Surrender of control
  • Growing awareness of the presence of Christ in the events of your life
  • Growing emotional health"
(pg. 287)

As much as I try to manipulate and clutch control onto many of my life circumstances, and as strangely comforting it is to nurture my fears instead of to surrender them, I know that Jesus invites me to taste the freedom He freely offers.

I'm reminded of Matthew 11. “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30, NRSV)


*  *  *  *  *


What are some ways you may invite Jesus into your life, even in the smallest and seemingly insignificant moments? Perhaps you could welcome Him before you write an email for work, before bedtime, during work, even while installing a light bulb? No moment is too simple to invite His presence into your life.

Comments

  1. A simple, but profound exercise - and practice to integrate into our daily walks. Lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Leaving comments on the "silence" pages seemed noisy, so I didn't. But I loved the honesty with which you confronted your addictions to noise and busy-ness. I wonder what would happen if you combined the "Welcome, Jesus" discipline with the sitting in silence discipline?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like your suggestion, Diane (hello, I'm Katherine). A great idea!

      Delete

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