Take a Moment to Pause!

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

A few days ago, I was in the office. As usual, I called some people, wrote cards, and prayed for our parishioners touching on each pew in the sanctuary. After I was done with my prayers in the sanctuary, I walked down the hallway. I saw brilliant sunshine coming in through the stained glass. I looked outside through the window. Bright sunlight is illuminating on the colorful leaves of fall. I was attracted by it and went out of the office and started walking on the street enjoying the soft wind, sunshine and the beautiful leaves. “Wow!” suddenly, I praised it unknowingly, “Wow, so beautiful!” I walked through the town and, along with the lake, enjoyed the beautiful weather. Suddenly, three words came to my mind, “joy, gratitude, and prayer.” Perhaps, “joy and gratitude” come with “prayer.” Without prayer, we may not know about true joy and gratitude.

The Apostle Paul often used “prayer and thanksgiving” together in his letter: “Pray without ceasing and give thanks in all circumstances.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18): “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving.” (Colossians 4:2): “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 3:6).

In fact, we pray when we face difficulties, like when we have urgent issues, stopping by the emergency room or the pharmacy in order to get an immediate solution. So, praying without ceasing or giving thanks in all circumstances sounds like the story of saints. However, if we can find joy in everyday life, we can give thanks also. And then, with gratitude, we may pray every moment we breathe. It is like a prayer walk, which is praying every moment we are walking.

I want to share how a prayer walk works. I have shared it with a prayer group in St. Croix Falls. It is an easy way we can practice praying. A prayer walk is pretty simple, bringing together two wonderful things, “walking and praying” and enjoying the beautiful weather and maple leaves. I know some of you enjoy taking a walk with someone or walking alone in the morning or evening. A prayer walk is just being intentional about both exercising and your prayer time so that you can cover your community in prayer. As you pass by, while you are taking a walk, you may pray for those who are living in the place you are passing, whether you know them well or not. For many, a prayer walk is as simple as grabbing the leash and taking your dogs for a walk, or putting the kiddos in a stroller and praying for each family living in the house you pass, or government/county/town buildings to lift up our leaders. How you implement a prayer walk and what it looks like is really up to you. The most important part is that you are praying.

It is the season of thanksgiving. Let us pause from our busy daily lives and think of how often we give thanks to our family, our teachers, parents, leaders, and our Lord. Looking at beautiful maple leaves, let us give thanks to God and everyone around you. Walking on the street with a pet, let us pray for them with gratitude and joy. Blessings!

Pastor Jenny