GUEST POST:// William Davie is a first year ordinand studying for a BA in Theology, Ministry and Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He has previously been a Church Intern and Journalism student. He thinks too much and blogs when he remembers at https://disturbingthecomfortablesite.wordpress.com/
If you had told me a few months ago, that my favourite part of my ministerial training wouldn’t be the lectures, or the jokes about transubstantiation and the salad bar, but sitting outside of a small wooden hut, in silence for an hour every week I would have told you, you were nuts. But that has turned out to be the case.
To set the context, every Wednesday morning at Trinity we have Spirituality and Quiet Hour. Spirituality is an hour-long discussion on some aspect of as you would expect spirituality, be it prayer, lament, or worship. This is then followed by Quiet Hour. The whole college falls silent, and we are encouraged to go off and think and prayer about what we’ve just been discussing. I usually make my way down to the prayer hut.
When I started at Trinity, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of either Spirituality or Quiet Hour. I knew I needed to get at developing a pattern of prayer, because my BAP papers said so, but it still struck me as an hour that I would just have to get through, before I could get on with the real work. This uncertainty and discomfort regarding spirituality I blame partially on my Evangelical background, but mainly on myself. I have always been a very logical, though emotional person, and the more spiritual and prayerful side of Christianity has never been something I have been comfortable with.
But week by week and hour by hour, my time outside the prayer hut has been helping me see the benefits of time spent simply waiting in the presence of God. It provides the fuel for the rest of the week and has shown me that I don’t need to be afraid of what God might say, because it’s usually helpful, if sometimes uncomfortable. It has helped me realise that there are more important things in ministry than having all the right answers to questions about Marcionism and the genre of Daniel.
Christians in general can tend to put too much emphasis on either Scripture or Spirit and for certain types of non-Charismatic Evangelical (and I speak as one) understanding Scripture, and God and the nature of Him can become the priority, forcing Spirituality to reside on the back burner until we decide we have need of it. Now I’m not saying there is anything wrong with academic study, but if it becomes the be all and end all of our relationship with God that’s when problems begin to occur.
My quiet time outside the Prayer Hut is, as I have said, a much-valued part of my week, and I hope to be able to take the lessons I have learnt – about waiting on God and making space for him in my daily journey – into my future ministry. But at the moment, I’m going to enjoy the opportunities I have. And if you ever happen to be visiting Trinity, try and visit the Prayer Hut. You won’t regret it.