Candles, art, textures, prayer, scripture—all are ways to experience God. As part of our church’s Lenten observance this year, members have the opportunity to participate in twelve “experiential prayer stations” that utilize all of these. Tucked away on a quiet upper floor of an educational building, the stations provide the chance for individuals to take a few minutes to reflect, pray, and experience the presence of God in the midst of the busyness of life. Many of the experiences are rooted in ancient disciplines of the Christian faith.
As I participated in several of the prayer stations on Sunday morning, I was struck most of all by the process. Although I had the opportunity to “pull away” for a time, the experiences not only connected me with God but reminded me of the value that God has placed on this world. I came away with a new appreciation of how God has embraced humankind through Jesus Christ.
This look to the past is also a look to the future of the church. In a wired, busy, and conflicted world, believers are seeking ways to connect with God. There is a hunger, especially among young adults but also among senior adults, to find genuine and authentic experiences with others and with God. Contemplation is an essential part of the church today even as it has been in the past.