IT WAS early morning, not long after nine, and I was travelling the roads of Co. Down to visit a promoter. The sun was low in the sky, and the sea was calm with waves gently lapping the shore. Though it was grey and the sky was cloudy, the sun shone with such a resilient brightness that I had to stop for a few minutes to take it all in.
As I sat there, the late Marian Finucane came into my mind. My first instinct on hearing the news of Marian’s death had been to say to myself, (selfishly of course), ‘Oh! I won’t have Marian to listen to at the weekend!’ Now, having taken this time to admire the beauty of the scenery around me, I found myself giving thanks for her life and for the part she played in my life.
I have always admired Marian’s ability to interview someone with just the right tone or attitude on her part. If it was someone who needed gentleness to help them tease out their story, Marian had the ability to do that while at the same time respecting their privacy and knowing just how far to go. Likewise, if it was someone who needed to be challenged or pushed or who was less than honest, Marian knew just how to deal with them.
She had the ability to ask the right questions, or perhaps not even the right questions but the question that was going to help clarify or unlock the person’s story. Marian’s talent I think was her ability to understand the topic, and at the same time, it was not her opinion that she wanted to put forward; it seemed to me she wanted the audience to hear what the interviewee had to say. There is such a difference between someone who has the ability and confidence to go on a journey with someone without having to know exactly where the road will lead, and someone who has a list of questions, and who, no matter what happens, won’t deviate from them!
Prayer is a little like an interview with God, and God’s interviewing style is like Marian’s. God does not overwhelm us or say, ‘I know your life’s journey in detail, here are the solutions’, instead he waits and listens with respect, helping us to tease out our feelings, emotions and opinions. Prayer is a place of love and honesty in which we can find lasting solutions by learning to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
I don’t know if, like me, you find yourself in prayer at the oddest of moments and places, but I find myself more and more seeking to make my day full of regular moments of prayer. Now, before you begin to think that I have lost the plot completely, let me explain: someone once said to me that every place, every moment, every experience and every encounter is an opportunity for prayer.
This makes sense to me, because I believe that prayer is essentially an awareness of God’s presence. The more we become aware of God’s presence in another person or situation the more we allow our behaviour, attitude and way of being to reflect the unconditional love of God.
Over the coming weeks I invite you to become more aware of how you pray and where you pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and to heighten your awareness of God’s presence in others. By doing this you will find yourself praying for the people you meet, or speak to or who simply come into your mind, and prayer will become more a part of you. You will find also that negative thoughts are negated through being more thankful and by sending love and blessings, especially to people you find difficult. As a result of this prayerful attitude, a deep sense of peace and harmony will open up for you.
I invite you to take the time each day to invite the Holy Spirit into your life. A simple refrain that I repeat three or four times a day for a few minutes in silence is, ‘Divine love saturates my whole being. Divine peace and harmony fill my whole being. Divine love dwells in my heart. Divine love goes before me today and every day making straight, joyous, and glorious my way.’ I hope you find that this prayer, or preferably a prayer of your own inspired by the Spirit, will help you to weave little moments of prayer into the tapestry of your daily life.