This quote is from Common Prayer. Cyprian of Carthage, a third-century North African bishop, said, "The Lord Christ did not want us to pray by our selves in private or for ourselves alone. We do not say 'My Father', who art in heaven,' nor 'Give me this day my daily bread.' It is not for oneself alone that each person asks to be forgiven, not to be led into temptation or to be delivered from evil. Rather, we pray in public as a community, and not for one individual but for all."
Well this just stopped me in my tracks I have been reflecting on it all morning. Particularly the idea of sharing my temptations with other people. That makes me feel all sick inside. I have only shared things like that on very rare occasions after I have struggled with them so much that they nearly come bursting out of me, in what I consider to be a safe environment. With a person I know I can trust. I think this is the idea behind things like accountability groups. I don't know that I personally am in a place where I want to be a part of something like that. Just this idea of sharing my struggles is stretching me, maybe to the point of discomfort. I was just saying the other day that I don't often share much of myself unless asked. It's not that I mind sharing, I just don't blurt it out unless people are genuinely interested. What if I sat down with people once a week and prayed about the things that weighed heaviest on my heart?
8 Woe to you who add house to house
and join field to field
till no space is left
and you live alone in the land.
9 The LORD Almighty has declared in my hearing:
“Surely the great houses will become desolate,
the fine mansions left without occupants.
10 A ten-acre vineyard will produce only a batha]">[a] of wine;
a homerb]">[b] of seed will yield only an ephahc]">[c] of grain.”
to run after their drinks,
who stay up late at night
till they are inflamed with wine.
12 They have harps and lyres at their banquets,
pipes and timbrels and wine,
but they have no regard for the deeds of the LORD,
no respect for the work of his hands.
This comes from Isaiah 5 (NIV)
It amazes me sometimes how relevant to today's culture Isaiah can be at times. We do have a lot of empty mansions these days don't we? Surprisingly, this fits right in with our current conversation as a couple on what size home would be right for us. I have to wonder if God is trying to get our attention.
Also from Common Prayer: Teach us to delight in your web of life and to know ourselves in community.