Sculpting Project Seven: Flash Prayers: Week 1
Macrina is softly snoring as she lays on the shearing table. She wakes from time to time suggesting I should give her another bite of grain and then settles down to rest some more. Shearing is a slow process at my house. I use care and a good pair of scissors. After a little over two hours I have a wash tub full of mohair and a much thinner angora goat.
I have sheared many times so the process does not require my full concentration and I find my mind wandering as Macrina snores. This week I decide to use the shearing time for my Sculpting Project. Each time I notice that my mind has wandered from shearing I send a quick Flash Prayer to God about what or whoever I am thinking about. Our new priest comes to mind, so I pray for him. “Jesus, pour your blessings on him.” My daughters come to mind. “Jesus, fill their day with Your gifts.” The two hours carry on with many more people, plans, and challenging situations coming to my mind. Whenever I remember, I send a Flash Prayer.
As I bring skinny Macrina back to her yard I notice that I am in a much better frame of mind. I wonder if it has anything to do with praying for people instead of ruminating about them. And then there is also the rich possibility that my Flash Prayers have made a difference in the world.
Brother Lawrence was my high school hero and one of the founders of this Sculpting Group. He introduced me to the challenging practice of keeping my mind on Jesus. In college I discovered a copy of Practicing the Presence of God that was bound with a collection of writings by Dr. Frank Laubach. Laubach, a Presbyterian Missionary renowned for his work in raising literacy worldwide, had a passion and plan for practicing God’s presence.
Our Sculpting Project, Flash Prayers, is one of Laubach’s “games” for keeping his mind on Jesus. As Laubach rode on buses or walked in crowds, or sat in meetings he would flash a prayer for individuals around him. He observed many reactions to his Flash Prayers such as bus passengers smiling and looking around as if talked to. When in meetings, “The atmosphere of a room changes when a few people keep whispering to God about all the rest.” Laubach asserted.
Two ways to do Flash Prayers:
Pick a period of time each day to practice. (Ex. When you are shopping or when you do an activity that requires low mental focus.)
1. When you are with other people flash a prayer for them. Keep it simple. ‘Jesus’, or ‘Pour your Blessings’. Or another prayer that feels right to you.
2 .When someone comes to your mind flash a prayer for them. Don’t just think about people, pray for them.
What to Say?
The content of Flash Prayers is usually simple.
My personal generic Flash Prayer is “Lord, pour your blessings on ________.” Sometimes I say a more specific prayer if I sense a need.
Laubach’s were often just the name “Jesus.” That was all. He was bringing Jesus to people and people to Jesus.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Ephesians 6: 18
Communication encourages fellow sculptors.