Sunday 29 December 2013

A Chance Encounter, Prayer and Life

A Chance Encounter, Prayer and Life

A few days ago I was donating blood at Canadian Blood Services I had an interesting conversation with three young people after donating. And by young people I mean early to mid 20's. During the conversation I found out historically they are from Wolfe Island, which is near Kingston. One young man David is studying for the priesthood. I asked for his name so I could add it to my prayer list. I have found myself praying for David's studies and his ministry often over the last few days and reflecting back on life. Five years ago I wrote an article called Life, the University and Everything reflections on 20 years as an undergrad. For back in 1989 when I first started at Queen's University I too was studying for the priesthood. A lot has happened in the last 25 years, a lot has happened in the last year.

First it has been a very inconsistent year for writing. I find that with three children 7 and under I am not reading or writing as much as I did. And also with 2 promotions at work in under a year and all the new responsibilities that involved. Over the past 18 months I have done 4 virtual class room courses, 6 self-paced courses, 3 self-study book courses and 7 certification exams. So now I find that time is now limited. But that being said I am setting more modest goals for 2014. I am going to aim for 2 blog posts a week instead of three plus. Six years ago I had the chance to donate bone marrow through the Unrelated Bone Marrow Donor registry (now One Match). We found out that the recipient has succumbed, but he was very thankful for the 5 extra years of life with his friends and family. Over the years I thought about and prayed for Guy often, once we were in contact I usually got an email at Christmas and on the anniversary of the donation. You can read his side of the experience of receiving bone marrow here. This past October we lost my Father in Law. Kerry never said a lot but when he did I always paid attention. I miss him, and this first Christmas without him was harder than I expected. So I have been reflecting on what I pray about, who I pray for. What I focus my energy and time on and who.

Over the last few years my prayer life has really expanded again. I have started keeping a prayer list, people and things I pray about. Recently I received a prayer request from a friend who has adopted 2 boys, the boys little sister is now in the system but cannot yet be adopted. Praying for that to happen. Praying for David mentioned above. Praying for a friend who was accused of something they did not do and the immense impact it is having on his family. Praying for another friend named Eric, kept being woken up early to pray for these two specifically. Praying for another friend Hawk\David who in November was walking again after a few years in a wheel chair; defying all odds. Praying for my children and for protection of them and wisdom in raising them. I find that now I pray many times throughout the day. I pray when prompted, I pray for who the spirit prompts. I praying first thing in the morning in bed and last thing before going to sleep. Mark Batterson's books, Praying Circles Around Your Children and Draw the Circle the 40 Day Prayer Challenge really changed how I pray. The other book I read this past year that was amazing for prayer was A 40 Day Spiritual Workout For Catholics - Bob Rice it also has a corresponding iOS app.

So with that being said some of my goals for 2014 are:
Pray with more focus
Read a different translation of the bible this year
Finish my DDP Certification
Read 1 book a week
Minimum 1 blog post a week.

One of my all-time favorite C.S. Lewis quotes is "Mere change is not growth. Growth is the synthesis of change and continuity, and where there is no continuity there is no growth." The past year has a been a year of much change and I believe much growth. Thank to those who have been support for the journey. And for those I supported thanks for accepting the help I could offer and allowing me to serve. But as I stated at the beginning these thoughts were prompted by meeting a young man, while donating blood, he is studying for the priesthood. His name is David. Please pray for his studies and ministry!

Yours learning to be;

p.s. As an addendum, have deleted all games from FaceBook, iPad and iPhone in order to be more disciplined and focused in 2014. Starting now.

(Special thanks to Jared Zimmerer author of The Ten Commandments Of Lifting Weights for allowing me to use the image above.)


Scott said...

Nice, Steve. All the best in 2014!

Scott said...

Nice, Steve. All the best in 2014.

Rodney Indonesia said...

Hi, Steve. Glad that things are going well for you and your family. I am always pleased when things are going smoothly in a person's life. However, I am not inclined to think that our actions map one to one towards outcomes. Certainly, when we make good decisions, this is a good thing and does exemplify our work ethic and values. However, we are not the full masters of our experiences and others have control over important decisions in our lives. Our bosses decide our promotions and benefits. The faculty at my college decided whether I would be accepted or not. I don't control their minds and grace plays a big part in life as well. I suppose that this is another example of the messy, paradoxical nature of life. Those two poles must be kept in tension. Otherwise, we can fall into hubris or inaction. As well, it is important to recognize the systemic forces of privilege that help us and discourage others. Privilege is unearned and is given arbitrarily to one part of society at the expense of others. In short, privilege is violence. Community support is also very important in life, as I learned from the death of my sister Brenda. As far as prayer goes, I think it is important to pray since it situates us inside God's will and allows God to transform us. I don't personally believe in the notion that if I pray for something, good outcomes will result. That makes God into a talisman of power or a butler and I feel uncomfortable about that kind of theology. For me, prayer transforms me and guides me to the places that God wants to transform. I pray for others so that I can be open to what my part is in that. I see it as an obedient following of God's voice. God knows what we all need and so I don't pray for my stuff to inform God. For me, the act of confessing my wants and desires is part of the exercise of personal transformation, not begging God to meet my desires and needs. Anyway, just commenting as you requested. Hope that you will make your goals. Sounds like you are having a god start for your year. Blessings, Steve!