Daily Reflection 8th July

Teach us to Pray

David Jones, from Gyffin, is fascinated by one remarkable (and healthy) side-effect of COVID-19:


O flaen popeth arall dw i’n pwyso arnoch chi i weddïo dros bawb –
pledio a gweddïo’n daer; gofyn a diolch i Dduw ar eu rhan nhw.
1 Timotheus 2: 1
Beibl.net © Cymdeithas y Beibl
First, I tell you to pray for all people,
asking God for what they need and being thankful to him.
1 Timothy 2: 1
Holy Bible New Century Version © Thomas Nelson Inc 

David Jones writes:

Many contributors have alluded to this being a very strange time. So much has changed in each of us and in the world around us. After the initial shock of lock-down there was a ‘Dunkirk Spirit’ of energetic activity and sense all being in this together. But then all that rushing from one task to another gradually subsided, giving way to a much more reflective  mood.

Many of us, forced by circumstances to look inward at our own lives and outward at Society, have not always liked what we discovered. Priorities and assumptions have been questioned, selfishness laid bare in a new way. The problem is, how do we change (can we change?) and will such change last once life takes on a more normal and commercial rhythm. 

An interesting piece of recent news caught my attention. According to research by a team from the University of Copenhagen, record numbers of people have been putting words like “prayer” into Google and other search engines – presumably hoping for spiritual comfort, meaning and direction. The numbers are well in excess of the usual peaks (at times like Christmas and Easter).

This is a worldwide response to the pandemic. Data was analysed from 95 countries so we are talking multi-faith, as well as some locations that were thought to be home to more secular populations. Places of worship closed to congregations can only be part of what is going on. People everywhere are asking fundamental questions about life, death and change. Detailed analysis of the internet searches indicated a curiosity or hope whether prayer might be a way to cope with adversity and find meaning – in the face of these shocking events which are so beyond everyone’s control.

“Lord teach us to Pray” was the heartfelt plea of the disciples after they had witnessed Jesus praying to his Father. In His response we received the most famous and well-known lines in all of history, The Lord’s Prayer. Clearly this hunger and searching was present in human hearts long before Google.

Matthew 6 recounts Jesus telling His disciples “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who unseen. Then your Father who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” I personally love the next bit as it appears in one translation: “And when you pray, do not keep babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” (New International Version).

In fact it only takes these few words (70 in English) to express our deepest spiritual needs for praise, petition and yearning.

Ein Tad, yr hwn wyt yn y nefoedd,
sancteiddier dy enw,
deled dy deyrnas, gwneler dy ewyllys;
megis yn y nef, felly ar y ddaear hefyd.
Dyro i ni heddiw ein bara beunyddiol
a maddau i ni ein dyledion,
fel y maddeuwn ninnau i’n dyledwyr. 
Ac nac arwain ni i brofedigaeth; 
eithr gwared ni rhag drwg. 
Canys eiddot ti yw’r deyrnas,
a’r gallu, a’r gogoniant,
yn oes oesoedd. Amen.
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come, thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven. 
Give us this day our daily bread. 
And forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us. 
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. 
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

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