When I was a kid, progressive dinners were a social fad. A progressive dinner moved from house to house–appetizers at one house, salad at another, main course at still another, and dessert at a final location. The guests might be all the same people just moving around together to a different host house. Another model was to be with different people at each location–a kind of mixer or getting-to-know-you event. In each case, the dinner progressed throughout the evening to a different venue with different decor, dishes, atmosphere, and conversation.
I thought of the progressive dinner concept when I was praying for my friend Randall who is in a long recovery from a brutal surgical procedure. A vast cloud of witnesses pray for Randall constantly. When I keep an ongoing prayer vigil for a person, my prayers “progress.” That doesn’t mean they get better; they just move and morph. The places I pray, the time of day, the mood I’m in…all affect the way I pray.
This prayer started out unexpectedly in the middle of my morning writing with a black pen in hand. A couple of days later, my journal fell open to the same page and I was nudged to add to the prayer—color this time. Words worked their way onto the page at a later date. A new iteration may still emerge from this particular drawing. With a progressive prayer as with a progressive dinner, a new time and venue enhance and enrich the conversation. I hope this ongoing prayer is about listening and softening my heart, about being attentive to God’s new and ongoing care and healing in Randall’s life and in mine.
love the term progressive prayer- I guess that is what you call my “prayers by the month” – starting out a page and keeping all the prayers there on one page for the month in my journal– like the term- it really helps to explain the concept- thanks!