I remember a Friday night many years ago when friends going away for a weekend left without me simply because I couldn’t get off work till 6pm.  I’ve since recovered from that slight (even had a good weekend without them!) but it was no fun at the time to be forgotten.

You likely have a story of being forgotten.  It may be a profound story that has shaped your life or an easily forgiven oversight that you can laugh about.  On the flip side you may also have a time when you were remembered.  Being remembered at anniversaries or events, those joyous and painful, tells us we are cared for and loved.  I had coffee with a friend last summer who had lost his mom a few months earlier and he was sharing how much it means to him when people reminisce with him about her, or when they ask about her life.  These moments say to him, “I remember”.

Prayer is a form of remembering, and from my experience prayer walking is an even better form of remembering. For the past year and a half I’ve been prayer walking weekly with a friend through the neighbourhood surrounding Next Door.  In doing so what I find is that my senses and emotions are engaged as I gaze up at the apartments buildings, or look across at the spaces we occupy in ministry – the ball hockey court, the community garden.  (This seeing the community doesn’t happen when I sit in a room to pray!)  When I find my senses stimulated and my emotions engaged in prayer I am also more likely to act.  Science Mike

[1], in his book Finding God in the Waves, talks about how when he prays for things he hopes for he then searches for ways to make the situation better.  I agree.  These are a few loose thoughts.  In an attempt to bring them together, prayer says,  “I remember” and from my experience we are most apt to remember and act when our senses and emotions are engaged.

Bringing this back to prayer walking,  I find that the most memorable prayer walks are when we come across a Next Door friend.  On such occasions it usually comes with a good morning as we each go our way.  Recently I passed Mohammed (our Syrian refugee dad) walking his children to school and this seeing was a reminder of what his days looks like, deepening my understanding of his life and my care for him.  On the rare occasion, we cross paths with someone who asks us to pray for them.  I recall C.  She was working at the garden when we stopped to talk with her. She pointed up to her apartment unit near a top floor and said, “remember that unit”.  In other words, “pray for me, remember me”.  Again, my care for C. is deepened through my seeing her and my remembering her in prayer.

Tonight we are meeting at Next Door to prayer walk through the neighbourhood.  It will be a guided walk and will allow us (you) to pray silently or out loud with the group.  In either case, when we do this we will be remembering our friends and the places and spaces we minister.  As we see, remember and pray we will also find that our care for this neighbourhood and ministry and our likelihood to act will potentially deepen.  So, please come join us to pray, remembering together while allowing the Spirit to deepen your care for this community.

[1] Mike McHargue know from The Liturgists Podcast and Ask Science Mike