"Prayer is like breathing - you can't do without it". With these words, Brother Sam SSF, began his plenary session on prayer at the heart of the life of the Christian minister, for the Diocese in Europe Readers' Conference on 16 June. Brother Sam, a Franciscan friar and until recently the Provincial Minister of the Society of Saint Francis (SSF), spoke about prayer as having to do with our relationship with God, with others and with our natural environment. He spoke to our lay ministers on some key dimensions of prayer and the spiritual life:
- the link between prayer and action: opening our heart and wills to God's purpose for the world.
- the need to be free of distraction in our prayer so we can truly listen to God.
- that our life of prayer needs to be earthed - it should not be divorced from real, even mundane life.
- the importance of practice - making sure our prayer is regular. Like athletes and musicians, regular practice helps us improve.
- that we need always to be reminded that we pray with brothers and sisters around the world and who have gone before us. We are not alone.
- to be aware that prayer opens us up, touches our wounds, our hurts, our vulnerabilities.