Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Day of Prayer

Each Monday at each L'Abri branch across the globe is set apart for prayer. Normally at Swiss L'Abri we take a few hours after breakfast: the workers rotate hosting the prayer morning, beginning our time together by reading a chapter or two from a book which sometimes concerns prayer, but not always. This reading is to encourage reflection and often shows up in my prayers later that afternoon. After the reading, we present our requests to one another and then pray for one another, for our families at home, for the needs of L'Abri, for the church, and for the world. Lunch discussions on Mondays often revolve around prayer: What is prayer; what does it consist of? Does it work? How do we pray? Why do we pray? Shouldn't we pray for more 'spiritual' matters than physical concerns? How does one's view of God's providence affect how we pray?

This past Monday we had a special day of prayer and fasting because our financial situation has been desperate all summer. We went through the morning almost as usual, then we cancelled all morning work crews, fasted lunch, and reconvened at quarter to four to close in prayer together. The morning went really well for me; it was eye-opening; it felt productive, though that word doesn't posses the right feeling because my prayer and study was more listening than doing, if that makes any sense. It was cool to intersperse prayer with study because what I was reading would sneak its way into my prayers, particularly into my confession. From what I could tell, the morning went this way for much of the community also.

L'Abri has, from the beginning, chosen this manner of dependence for her financial needs, and functions on a month-to-month basis. With the money that comes in, we pay our bills first, and then the workers' salaries, which means some months the staff take pay-cuts, some months they don't get paid at all. From what I gather, this summer has been one of those seasons of pay-cuts and wageless months. Our donations come almost entirely in US dollars, and as you all are no doubt well aware, the dollar isn't fairing too well and continues to decline. What that means for us is that when a donor gives the same dollar amount each month, let's say $50, the buying power of that $50 is weaker; the bill we once could pay in full with a favorable exchange rate, we can no longer pay in full, eventhough the gift is quite possibly a more strenuous sacrifice for the donor than it once was. Everything in Switzerland is expensive, and with 40-plus people constantly living in one community, energy bills are outrageous though we strive to be conscientious conservers. I say all this to say, when you think about me, think about L'Abri; when you pray for me, pray for L'Abri, on Mondays and any day.


Anonymous said...

in this blog i see a hint of the young girl who taught me so much about prayer when she was in high school...i've always "envied" your prayer walk...knowing that i could have that same experience at any time. i confess that it is pride that stands in the way. as you ahve embraced the intellectual side of you (and there's nothing wrong with that), I have missed seeing the young woman of dependence that i know you are! it's good to see her again as she shares heart felt thoughts for a place that ha been her home this past year. love you lots!! mom

christina said...

I must say that I love your post, but combined with your mom's it brings tears to my eyes. I love y'all so much- thanks for investing in me and being a part of my life. I am going to miss you all this next year!

Anonymous said...

Hi Renea! I'll certainly be praying. Over this past year I've learned so many things that I wish I'd known before going to L'Abri. Maybe my time there would have looked different, or at least my responses around the dinner table would have been of a different tone. One of the things that's really struck me recently is how much God DOES answer DOES work, and God DOES do miracles still today (I saw a number of them this past year! It was so incredible!...but that's another story). In the spirit of your mom's comment, as great as the intellectual stuff can be, sometimes it does have to be put aside and we just need to throw ourselves into Him. He then begins to respond in ways we couldn't have imagined.

So you're back for another semester? Is anyone else still there from our original group - Erin, John, Lizzie, Valerie, etc.?