Posted by: Philip Rushton | May 29, 2012

Longing For Something Deeper

I am currently finishing up a report on the information we gained from our spiritual life survey a month ago. I will publish some of the insights and conclusions from this research next month. One interesting insight that I have gleaned from the survey so far is that prayer is named as the most important way that we feel connected to God. 77% of the congregation labeled prayer as one of the top three most significant ways they feel connected with God. Prayer was also the practice that was most frequently rated as number one, compared to the other 8 practices listed.

At the same time, only 44% of our congregation indicated that they consistently have a regular time of extended prayer in their life. So, while we long for prayer many of us struggle to pray regularly. This disparity is understandable. We live in a distracted age that easily crowds out the discipline of prayer. The technological developments in the last couple of decades have ensured that we can be entertained and informed instantaneously at any moment. While devices like iPhones and iPads can be helpful, they also need to be used with discernment. They can quickly devolve into “weapons of mass distraction.” I personally have had to give up having a smart phone, because the distraction was too hard for me to combat.

In order to grow in the practice of prayer, we are going to provide some resources and opportunities to deepen our prayer life in the coming months. On June 24 we will be starting a sermon series on the Psalms that will focus on the different ways in which the psalmist models prayer for us. In conjunction with this I am putting together a schedule and interactive process for us to pray through the entire psalms over the summer months. I will also be providing extra resources and teaching on prayer here at the blog. Lastly, I am in the final stages of organizing a one-day prayer retreat in the middle of summer.

I share this desire for a deeper prayer life. Prayer has always been a significant practice in my life, yet it is something that can get crowded out life very easily. This is one the reasons I have been drawn to the style of worship created by the community of Taizé in France. The structured rhythms of contemplation and silence provide a venue for us to turn off the buzz and experience a depth of prayer that we all long for. Brother Roger, the founder of the Taizé community, writes this:

“From the depths of the human condition a secret aspiration rises up. Caught in the anonymous rhythms of schedules and timetables, men and women of today are implicitly thirsting for an essential reality, for an inner life. Nothing is more conducive to a communion with the living God than a meditative common prayer with, as its high point, singing that never ends and that continues in the silence of one’s heart when one is alone again.”

If you are around this Sunday (June 3), we would love to have you join us at 7:00 PM over in Gebert Chapel for this special service of prayer, song and silence. The service is titled “Renewed in the Spirit,” in recognition of Pentecost Sunday. We will be reflecting on the texts of scripture that point us to the gift of the Holy Spirit.
I am looking forward to developing a deeper prayer life with you in the coming months.


  1. Hi Phil, I would love a copy of praying through the Psalms. Will you be posting it or have a link that I could get from you? Cal and I were in Taize when we were in France with Rachel and it was during a Christmas break so many of the brothers were gone to a big gathering in Berlin I think. But it was a great experience! Melinda Bratt

    • Hi Melinda,

      Nice to hear from you! Glad you had a chance to visit Taize. I would like to go someday. I will post the information about praying through the psalms on the blog along with all the resources! We are starting in two weeks.

      Hope things are well in L-town!

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