Heart of Hanscom: Prayer – May 5, 2024

I wonder what the ground beneath Moses’ feet felt like.

Was that part of the desert looser sand, like a beach?

Take off your shoes

Had it rained recently and could there have been mud around?

Squishing feet

Or, least likely, but I like to think about it, was it a grassy section at the edge of the desert?

Laying in a warm meadow running your hands over blades of grass

This scripture is so tactile, we can physically feel it if we think about it. Most of us have taken off our shoes at some point in our life to squish in mud, feel the cool grass or the warm sand. God’s invitation for Moses to take off his sandals is about sinking into God’s presence. You’re on holy ground! Take off your shoes and sink into it. God wants Moses to remove the barrier between himself and the holy ground, so Moses can sink his toes into the divine and feel the holy ground under his feet. It is an invitation to draw closer. An invitation Moses responded to by physically taking his shoes off and an invitation we can respond to through prayer.


Now, I could do a whole sermon series on prayer so today is a big picture perspective. What is at the heart of prayer. In prayer, we pause, from whatever we had been doing and turn aside, take off our shoes, and draw near to God. Prayer is connection back to the God who made us. And that word connection, for me is key. It is not about perfection, the perfect words, the perfect posture, the perfect timing, but about connection, our heart to God’s heart.

There is a rabbinic story about people in prayer in a synagogue .

Hebrew alphabet.

Now, Christ does give us words. Christ gives us the Lord’s prayer but it is not because those words the perfect or right ones. They give us a framework, good things to pray about and center ourselves on, and they give us words when we may not have any.

Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Let it center you on God.

Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Let it remind you that our prayer are active and not passive. That we work with God to bring about the kingdom on earth.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Let it remind you to take one day at a time.

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Let it assure you that God offers us forgiveness and remind you that God calls us to forgive others as well.

And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

Let it help you turn to God, ask for help, and remind you of the assurance that God leads us in ways of abundant life.

You can pray the Lord’s Prayer or some other prayer. You can pray silently or out loud. You can pray standing, sitting, or kneeling. I have a book that is praying through coloring and free shape drawing. You can even pray by walking and through action. During the civil rights movement, faith leaders from multiple religions and denominations participated and advocated for justice. When the Rev. Dr. King marched in Selma, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marched with him. Afterwards, Rabbi Heschel said “I felt my legs were praying.”

I think about how we’re approaching this capital campaign, embracing the heart of Hanscom. Prayer comes first. It’s why I stood up here a couple of times asking people to be a part of a prayer team, not asking for money, but to call as many people in our church as possible and ask what we can pray for them about and ask them, you, to pray for the campaign. Think about it, almost two hundred people all opening channels from their heart to God’s heart around the same topic. Yes, there is a full vision placed on our heart that we are presenting to the church but no matter what, how we are approaching things, I know that whatever the project actually is in the end, I know it will be of God and guided by God.


Prayer is about connection, not perfection.

It is about our heart connecting with God’s heart.

It is about making room in our life for us to turn aside, share with God, and recognize how God might respond.

This week, how can you take off your shoes, sink into the divine, and draw close, draw near, to God’s presence, God’s guidance, and God’s love?

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