Holidays are often a time for reflection, perhaps looking back on the past year and then looking forward to what we think will be the important issues to address in the coming year.
These are times when we enjoy quietness.
When we do take time to ponder, often we become more aware of the beauty of our surroundings and become thankful for the gifts and talents we have.
Reflection and prayer are very closely linked.
Prayer also takes us to a place where we are aware of the gifts of God to us in creation and in the talents and blessings in our lives.
But prayer is more than just an awareness.
In prayer, we put ourselves into the presence of God.
We give thanks for the blessings we enjoy and acknowledge the hand of the bounteous giver.
We address God, our maker, and find ourselves lost in awe and wonder.
Perhaps this is a point of worship deep in our hearts.
In this place before God, we realise how inadequate and small we really are.
This is where we look at ourselves before God and have to confess that we and our communities need God’s strength and forgiveness.
But God invites us to pray and has promised our prayers will be heard.
God calls us to intercede or wrestle in prayer on behalf of ourselves and others, especially those in trouble who cannot pray for themselves.
Prayer and reflection have many similarities, but prayer is God centred and allows God to be our companion day by day and hour by hour.
May you know the blessing of God travelling with you wherever you are.
A prayer of St Columba: ‘Alone with none but you O Lord,
I journey on my way,
What need I fear if thou art near,
O King of night and day? More safe am I within thy hand
Than if a host around me stand’.
St Columba (521–597)