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Partners In Prayer Newsletter

Epiphany 2003

Prayer: A Habit of Being

When the Rt. Rev. Rowan Williams is enthroned as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury on February 27, 2003 he will unite Anglican provinces and dioceses from around the world with a new and growing vision for the mission of the Anglican Communion. Representatives from war-torn dioceses in Africa and the Middle East, the poverty stricken Province of Central America, and the most prosperous dioceses in the United States will gather in prayer to celebrate his ministry. Archbishop Williams describes his own experience of God in contemplative prayer as

"an awareness of a presence. Maybe you can't say any more than that you are held or attended to. [T]here comes a level of prayer where it is no longer a question of, "Are you seeing something?" Rather, "Are you aware of being seen?" [Of] sitting in the light, and of just being and becoming aware of who you really are. [W]e simply become what we are and just sit there being a creature in the hand of God.

A key influence in his prayer life has been St. John of the Cross. In an interview last summer, Archbishop Williams described what he had learned from this 16th century Christian mystic.

"Prayer is a habit of being. It is a sinking of your own identity into something deeper which goes on whether or not you think you are consciously praying, which means that how you feel is not unimportant but it doesn't tell you all you need to know about prayer. You may be feeling terrible and God may be active; you may be feeling nothing in particular, but God may be very active; you may be feeling wonderful, and that may have nothing at all to do with God's doing.

So a little bit of distance from your feelings, not hostility to them, but a realism about them, and an ability to tell the difference between what God is doing and how you are feeling - that is, I think, fundamental… [He] helped me a great deal to make sense of my own life and he also helped me make sense of a period in my own life when I wasn't very conscious of God doing anything and felt a lot of doubts and darkness in my life, and yet couldn't stop believing or hoping for something."

As we reach this crucial crossroads in the life of our Anglican Communion and our country, let us renew our commitment to this "habit of being." Pray that we might become increasingly aware of who we are - friend and foe alike _ creatures always being held in the hand of God.

This newsletter comes with prayers for peace in the world, for peace in your home and peace in your heart.

In Christ,
Carlotta B. Cochran
Executive Director

Video of the Enthornment available for $20.

The full text, as well as a report on the lecture series, is available on Anglican Media Melbourne's web site:

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