Praying in Ordinary Times


By Betsey Heavner

We are likely to call out when we need help or when we are in pain. We might remember to say thank you when we are filled with joy or find beauty. But today there is nothing special on my calendar and no strong urge in my heart. It is an ordinary day.

Oh, I have plenty to be grateful for – I am healthy, my husband has had a strong recovery from recent heart surgery, we expect a new grandson within days, and another grandson is responding well to medical treatment for a chronic disease. The endless news reports try to generate urgency about crisis. Yet, as these things float through my consciousness, I confess they seem to be part of usual routine. It is an ordinary day.

Recently, I read that Pope Gregory the Great (d. CE 604) was the first church leader to teach that all people, laypeople as well as priests and nuns, could have experience with holiness. Ordinary people – men and women, children and young people – can experience God in the routine of their day. In fact, Gregory insisted that when people live an active life everything in their experience becomes an instrument for God’s direct communication with them. Everything—chance meetings, storms, family life, landscapes, objects we use, and a thousand other things.

I do yearn for God, even on ordinary days. I want to recognize the Holy in the Ordinary. I know God is everywhere, just as Gregory described. Today I manage to mumble, “Open my eyes, Lord. Let me see you in whatever I encounter. And, most of all, let me be a holy presence for all I meet. Amen.”

Rev. Betsey Heavner is retired Director of Congregational Renewal for Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church.