envelop spinner search close plus arrow-right arrow-left facebook twitter
Dry and Parched

Dry and Parched

by Rev. Laura Parker on February 25, 2021


Luke 5:16 But (Jesus) would withdraw to quiet places to pray.


We did something different at church yesterday—we began a new adventure in prayer. About a dozen of our church community gathered in the sanctuary at 5:45 and a tiny little woman named Mona stepped in front of us and lit a candle. She had an odd assortment of things assembled on a table and the critic in me wondered if she couldn’t have done a little better than the dying plant in the ratty plastic container. There was another very large pot in the center of the table, and I wondered what its purpose was. Before I could ponder much longer, Mona held the sad, dry plant up in front of us and tipped it out of its container and showed us how root-bound it had been. She wondered out loud if any of us felt at all like that plant.


Such recognition washed over me! She obviously was asking us to ponder the question in a spirit of quiet meditation, but a part of me wanted to respond as our little ones often do when they join me down front for the children’s time. I wanted to wave my hand in front of Mona and jump up and down in my seat until she called on me so I could announce to everyone that I felt (feel) just as dry and parched as that little plant. How did she know how “root bound” I am right now?


I withheld my commentary and watched as she tucked the dry little plant into the large pot that was filled with dirt, just waiting to snuggle those roots deep within and nurture them with all its rich, earthy goodness. She explained that this would be a metaphor of sorts for our time together on the Wednesday nights approaching Easter. She has a friend who is a Master Gardener and will help her lavish all kinds of love on this little plant over the next few weeks. The idea is that our dry souls and spirits may also be nourished by a Master Gardener as we move through the coming weeks together, going deeper in prayer, learning to listen for the voice of God, soaking up some of the goodness our spiritual roots may have been missing.


The next 25 minutes went by so very quickly. Mona read the same passage of scripture out loud to us several times, very slowly, and guided us in a practice of deep listening. These minutes were refreshing and replenishing and held the promise of so much more! We put ourselves in Mona’s hands and she held us up to God and invited us JUST TO BE.


Sometimes it seems I work so hard to make my prayer time effective! I keep lists and I mark things off and I add things and I set clocks and reminders and congratulate myself when I work through my list and chide myself when I miss a day. I strive for affirmation from God that I am adequately organized and consistent in my prayer life and if only I could just have an A on my prayer report card I would feel like I am on the right track at winning God’s approval and being all I can possibly be as a “prayer warrior.”


I can’t remember the last time I just rested my soul and spirit in front of God.


I wish I had taken a picture of that root-bound plant to share with all of you, but that would have been a bit disruptive to the process. I do wonder, however, if any of you can relate to how the state of the poor plant spoke to me, how vigorously I wanted to shout, “Me, Me, Me, Me!”


We have several Wednesday nights left of this journey in guided, centering prayer—this adventure in “being” before God. We have lots of room in the sanctuary to be socially distant from each other. Tiny little Mona has lots of room in her hands to lift us up before God, all of us. There is a certain Master Gardener who wants to lavish us with good things every Wednesday when we arrive, and teach us more about how we capture those moments of being and find nourishment for our dry roots as a part of the sacred rhythm of our regular time with God.


I hope some of you will join us next Wednesday. You can just slip quietly in and take a seat and no one will demand a single thing from you. Do you need JUST TO BE? I tell you, I met Jesus in that place last night. I think you will, too!


Lord, some of my friends are dry and parched like me. Will you help them hear your invitation to come and tarry with you in a quiet place for a few minutes? We carry so much and we are often confused about how we really share those burdens with you. Just as the disciples asked Jesus to “teach them to pray,” we ask you to teach us more about communion with you as we seek your presence on the way. In Your Name we pray, AMEN.



Grace unto you,





Note: Mona Pineda has a Masters in Divinity from Candler School of Theology and is a Certified Spiritual Director. She will be leading us in a time of Centering Prayer each Wednesday night from 5:45-6:15 pm through Lent. Please join us in the sanctuary for these sacred moments as you feel led!

return to Daily Devotionals