by Andy Hawes
In the mad rush of today’s world there are some people who have a desire to pray but literally cannot find a moment. Although it is not ideal, there are ‘aids’ to help these ‘too busy people’ look to God and find strength and guidance. They provide the essential first step for fruitful prayer – a chance for the Lord to get a word in edgeways! They do so in innovative ways that can help anyone who feels tied to a computer or whose work involves long journeys.
The first demands access to a computer that is online. There is website called www.sacredspace.ie. This is a website that has been established by Jesuits based in Ireland. It is updated daily and is based on the daily Eucharistic lectionary. It provides straightforward advice on how to read the scripture prayerfully, and how to draw fruit from that reflection. It provides further information about festivals and saints. It provides links to other sites and contains material suitable for children. I know several people who have it on their ‘favourites’ list and use it during the odd few minutes at work.
The second is a resource provided by the Bible Society. They have a scheme entitled ‘making the Bible heard’. It is possible to buy a recording of the New Testament either on tape or CD in various levels of production from one voice reading solo up to a fully dramatized version with music and sound effects. They provide a wonderful resource for those who work involves huge amounts of driving. The car can become a place of refuge to be drenched in scripture. It also turns a personal stereo into a prayer tool. In our house they are used in the kitchen during meal preparation. The making the Bible heard help line is 0500 555805.
Prayer is essentially communication; both listening and talking with God that leads to communion with him. Contemporary society enjoys forms of communication that our forebears could never have dreamt of. These two resources, using contemporary media, can help individuals break the self-destructive cycle of activity by raising the consciousness above the material world and the demands of the immediate, in order that the God who is hope and peace may be heard. Jesus told Martha that ‘one thing is necessary’, the one necessary thing being attention to him – abiding in his presence and listening to his word.
The very busy person who is caught up in activity and who has no time for reflection will only be convinced that it is necessary to make prayer a priority if they have some real experience of its benefits. I know (though in a secondhand way) that both the computer and the car stereo have proved themselves capable of opening up a real encounter with the Lord. This has had one of the clear effects of prayer – a gradual changing in priorities in order that the ‘mind may be remade after the manner of Christ Jesus.’ In some people this means that they realize that they are not, after all, too busy to pray. It takes some time to realize that it is only prayer that transforms life and its activities into something charged with the possibilities of God’s grace. The end goal is too important – a matter of spiritual life and death – to ignore any possible starting point, be it at the office desk or in a traffic jam. Why not give it a try? Remember ‘prayer changes things!’