Words of Comfort

Last night I read from a book called The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle.  Now the prayers are what is from an Episcopalians own prayer book at say Compline or Morning Prayer.  It is amazing how familiar prayers and words bring such a feeling of comfort.  I felt as though I was snuggled into the warmth of the an old friend and visiting with that friend. 

It is also still amazing to me how words I learned from my childhood also break in right at this time too.  I grew up as an American Baptist and I could hear the words "set prayers you never say with your true heart, you just recite them and your not really praying from your heart".  For a moment I sit and wrestle with the two sides, this has happened often enough for me and now it is more like letting it wash around me. 

I have found the comfort of the familiar makes our hearts long for connection to the divine, the holy.  My dad, when he was really at the last stages of Parkinson's disease, was in a panic one day when I visited him.  "I can't remember the Lord's Prayer, will you say it with me."  That bothered him more than not being able to walk, or lift his head, or his drooling.  Not being able to ground himself with those familiar words disturbed him like he had lost a connection that was truly important. 

Prayer to God is important whether it is spontaneous prayer or prayers we have memorized we have a connection to the holy which sustains us through all of life.  Saying set prayers can bring us comfort and peace grounding us in times of trouble gathering us to God's ear.  May we seek those words which bring us comfort our whole life long.