We sometimes have gifts and treasures in our possession of which we are unaware.  There is often a story of someone finding a priceless treasure at a yard sale, or in a barn lost for decades.  Sometimes the treasures are right in front of us, and we are clueless to their value.  Recently, a woman in France discovered that the picture next to her sink, that she had for years was worth millions.

One of the greatest treasures we have is the ability to communicate with the Divine.  The power and transformation locked up in this gift is often seen as insignificant or a side effort for good intentions. Though such intentions are as foolish as using a parked new Lexus automobile as a sign board to post notices happening soon.  Recent comments by politicians in regards to the tragedies of gun violence, that victims were in their “thoughts and prayers”, were said to offer support and in good intentions, but the good intentions had no intention of any action and left the prayers meaningless. This is like writing lists of chores knowing you won’t do any of them.

There is little we can do that is more powerful and transformative as our actual prayers.  When we stop talking to each other about our hurts, anger and frustration and instead deeply mulch them into our prayers, they are transformed — like the soil —to help us let go of the need for revenge and instead find the grace to allow gratitude to grow again.  When we deeply hold someone in our prayers, they become closer to us, their needs and concerns are understood more clearly by us, and we are able to appreciate them more fully.

During this time of isolation and time away from others we have the opportunity of prayer to connect us more deeply than Zoom or FaceTime.  We view ourselves as being most productive when we are doing things, going to meetings and accomplishing tasks.  Though, as one who enjoys a good dinner with loved ones, what I focus on is all the preparation, planning, cooking and clean up and often am too busy to simply sit with the people I love.  Prayer comes when we are able to simply sit and listen, to get caught up with other’s perspectives, and to hear the deep underlying call upon our own life.  The presence of the Divine will always surprise us, and open ways to guide us when we are able to be still long enough to listen.  Taking the time to pray can do more than all the meetings we will ever go to, or the details we may need to accomplish.  By grounding ourselves first in prayer, we can accomplish far more of the details than we otherwise could.

The power of being connected with the Divine also opens for us an understanding of how deeply we are all connected, even how interconnected we are with all life on this planet.  Just as the trees talk through their root systems, so in our prayers we tap into the veins of life which emerge in all forms about us.  Things that were seen to be once important are understood in a new light as we let go of our mental gymnastics and simply rest in the presence of a larger reality.

If we truly offer our prayers, it will change our lives, and our perspectives.   It might cause us to turn off the news to avoid getting so worked up about what is going on in the world. It will open us to see where we might be misguided or missing something in our deeply cemented opinions. It is more important that we actually pray for people, for ourselves, for our communities than it is that we tell people we are going to do it. We have an amazing gift of time now that opens the door for us to go within and discover the wealth, beauty and power that lies beneath the soil of our everyday.  It would be sad to miss it in our longing to return to what was once normal.

The Rev. Peter Jenks is from The Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist, Thomaston.