The last several weeks I have written about three aspects of prayer. Over the next several weeks I will present ideas about servants of prayer: which includes ourselves.
So where do we start when we look at who the servants of prayer might be? There‚Äôs a lady at daily Mass who often gets asked to pray for others intentions at offertory. I am so frequently asked to mention one or another relative or friend in prayer at the Eucharist. I know when I‚Äôve had my biopsies as well as when I put my hand through the window last June, that the sisters on Cotton Street and Mockingbird, the Spirit community at Centro Santa Fe as well as las Buenas Pastoras were keeping me deep in their prayer. Indeed each of these prayer requests are appropriate. But! ¬øSabe qu√©?, that‚Äôs not the core of prayer source for us, nor its foundation.
The bishops have this y about ‚ÄúServants of Prayer‚Äù:
The Christian family is the first place of education in prayer. Based on the sacrament of marriage, the family is the “domestic church” where God’s children learn to pray “as the Church” and to persevere in prayer. For young children in particular, daily family prayer is the first witness of the Church’s living memory as awakened patiently by the Holy Spirit.
Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 2685
So, sure, by all means, ask the lady at Mass, or the sisters and other prayer lists, put your petitions in the book at the Guadalupe Shrine in the Mission and the entrance at the main church. Those are all deep sources of connection and solidarity and powerhouses of spiritual support, comfort and focus. But, the place to begin is in one‚Äôs own household.
Christianity, in our inheritance from Judaism, is a house church. The basic altar of prayer and sacrifice is the one that sustains our bodies ‚Äì our family table. (How often do you eat with those with whom you live?)
The patriarchs gave blessing to their eldest to continue life. The Passover is celebrated in households. Shabat prayer begins with the woman of the house lighting candles at the evening meal. Many of Jesus‚Äô miracles happened in the privacy of a home, or as the people gathered to eat. The brothers of Emmaus didn‚Äôt recognize Jesus until he sat at their table. Then they ran to be with the disciples in the upper room.
Before we run to the main church for Sunday Eucharist, we need to recognize Christ at the table of our families. Before we can understand the Scriptures and homily, we need to break open the Word in our own lives and arguments and fears and failings and joys and visions.
Prayer, dialogue with God and intimacy with one another, begins at home. Our first ‚Äúministers‚Äù and instructors in the faith are parents and children living our daily life under the grace of God. Is it un-cool and out of date to pray at home? Where else than home? Where do we learn to eat and walk?