Epiphany to Easter Sculpting Project 6: Prayer Flash: Week 1
The silence in our little canyon is palatable. I take a deep intentional breath. A Sunday afternoon walk. The stream bed gravel crunches under my feet. Another deep slow breath. I see the first tiny purple flower of spring. I smile. This little sighting will go on my annual event list. I choose to stay with the smile and flower for a little longer.
This walk is a sharp contrast from the morning with my church family. To my introverted-self church time is more like a hurricane of relational joys and sorrows. When I walk in the door I am flooded with the emotions of those around me. Today it was grief over the difficult death of a sister-in-law, the delight of the children with our shadow-puppet play, the challenge of interpersonal drama, the work of directing a music rehearsal, words from Jesus during worship, and more.
I head to a rock sitting area and open my thermos. Steaming, flavored, milk. My current favorite hot drink. I take some slow sips with pleasure. The people and events of the day flash in and around my mind. I decide to respond with ‘flash prayers’.
“Jesus, fill Bill and his family with your comfort.” I take another sip and respond to my minds’ wanderings with, “O Lord, intervene in the relational drama. Teach us to love one-another.” The pleasure of the puppet show comes to mind. I decide to take a few more seconds to savor that success and then express a quick prayer of gratitude.
I learned about flash prayers from Dr. Frank Laubach. A Presbyterian missionary renowned for his work in raising literacy worldwide, Laubach also had a passion and plan for practicing God’s presence.
Laubach created games to keep his mind on Jesus. One of these games he called ‘Flash Prayers’.
As Laubach walked in crowds, or rode buses, or attended meetings he made a habit of flashing prayers for individuals around him. Laubach noticed positive reactions to his prayers and felt the atmosphere of meetings change when he played this game.
What to say?
Flash prayers are short and simple. My personal generic flash prayer is “Lord, pour your blessing on _____.” Sometimes my prayer is more directly targeting the need like “Jesus, fill Bill and his family with your comfort.”
Laubach’s flash prayers were often simply the name “Jesus.” He sought to bring Jesus to people and people to Jesus.
Epiphany to Easter Sculpting Project: Prayer Flash Week 1
- Pick a time of day to do this project. (You can be alone like my walk time or you can be with people like Laubach was.)
- Post us what you pick. (This helps you remember and gives others encouraging ideas.)
- Flash short simple prayers (silent or aloud) for anyone you see or who comes to mind.
- Post us what you discover.
How does this relate to well-being and psychology?
Begin by doing your own experiment this week and observe how flash prayer affect you and those around you. Next week I’ll relate a few findings from psychology.
I sit down with Evan for a light Sunday supper. I’ve noticed that I often have a running conversation going on in my head while I am engaged in day-to-day activities like this meal time. I decide to continue my flash prayer project and I turn many of the thoughts from my running inner conversation into quick flash prayers. I also flash prayers for Evan and the happenings of the moment. Woo, this is a big improvement over just listening to my inner chatter and my responses in conversation even seem better. This game is a keeper for me.
I this April Oliver, because it is ‘all over’ here in April.