The following prayer practice is offered by Pastor Patrick Sipes for First Evangelical Lutheran Church in North Platte, Nebraska for the season of Epiphany 2022.
During the Season after the Epiphany, the gospel readings share stories of how Jesus is revealed to us as God’s son. For a prayer practice during this time, you are invited to take a picture of Jesus (a sample sheet is provided below), and hold it in your hands.
Begin with the picture upside down, so you cannot see Jesus. As we live our day to day life, there are often times when we don’t think about Jesus, or if we do, it might be hard to see where his presence is. Bring to you space of prayer (Body, Mind, and Heart) where some of these places are that you have trouble seeing or remembering the presence of Jesus. Ask God to reveal Jesus to you in these places this week, and then look for Jesus to show up.
Next, turn the picture over, and spend a few moments looking at your picture of Jesus. What is revealed to you about the person and Godhood of Jesus by this picture? Where do you see these same things revealed to you in the world around you? Take some time to revel in these revelations and then thank God for the times and places that you see Jesus revealed to you in the world around you.
The following is a guest post by my husband, Rev. Patrick L. Sipes. It is a prayer practice developed for First Evangelical Lutheran Church in North Platte, Nebraska for use at the beginning of worship, and throughout the week. We pray it may help to deepen your conversations with God.
The congregation I serve has been going through the Faith5 course over the last few weeks and one thing that has stuck with me that Dr. Rich Melheim says is that, “if you don’t know your highs and lows (the good and the bad things that are going on in your life) you don’t really know yourself.” I also had one of my class members tell me afterwards, “This is a new thing for me and something I’m going to have to practice.”
The following is an “Everyday Object Prayer” that is meant to help you work on naming your highs and lows. The everyday object we’ll be using is a key. As you choose a key pick one that has peaks and valleys on it as you look at it from the side and starting on the tip end, follow the ridge up to the first peak with one of your fingers. As you rest there at the peak, bring to mind something that was a high for your week, something good that happened to you, something that helped you feel accomplished, something that came to completion or resolution. Bring this thought to God in celebration and then travel down the key to a valley and bring to mind a low spot of your week, something that didn’t go as you had wished, something that caused you to struggle and hasn’t yet resolved, something you are still unsure about. Bring this low spot to God and ask for God to be with you in it, and to give you wisdom for journeying with it. Continue down your key in this manner bringing to your focus, the highs and lows of your week.
As you come across this key throughout your week, consider when you might take time to use it in prayer again.