If you were standing with a group of people before a meeting and were asked to say a prayer out loud, could you do it?
I am a cradle Anglican and I could not. But that was before Revive.
When I heard about this program, I was curious, cautious, and hopeful. Curious to see what it was all about, for sure; cautious because I don’t always have confidence in who I am and I didn’t want to embarrass myself when others might find out what I didn’t know; and hopeful that it would be a course that would be worth my time and effort.
Revive fulfilled my curiosity, eased my worries (because it isn’t always about me, anyway!), and it was well worth my time and effort. I completed the course and felt that it made me a better lay leader than when I began.
For prayer, we were given a formula/word to remember the structure of saying a prayer. I wrote that out on a small piece of paper that I could reach whenever I was asked. Yes, I would panic if I didn’t have it, but it is a small enough word to put to memory, and before long I had it memorized. It took practice and a few of my friends to push me out of my comfort zone and begin meetings with a prayer, and I can honestly say I can do it. I may not be as eloquent as some when I pray, but that is okay. I just take a breath and quick moment to focus my thoughts and then I begin, not concerning myself about short hesitations that happen while I find the correct word or phrase.
Prayer is only one part of the program. Another “module”, which is how the course is organized, is meditation. I looked at the person leading the meditation and said, “You want me to sit quietly and empty my mind for how long?” Um … nope, can’t do it! My mind isn’t set up that way. Of course, she asked for me to try. So I closed my eyes, and tried. But before long, I was thinking about what I needed to pick up on my way home, and things I wanted to accomplish before bed. With some practice, like with the prayer module, I was able to lengthen the meditation sessions before my mind went elsewhere.
I am now a deacon, but without Revive I would be a deacon who didn’t really know how to pray, meditate, or look at Scripture in a few newer ways. It strengthened my faith, brought me closer to God, and with both of those, has sent me on a clearer pathway to be the best Christian I can be.