I don’t remember who first told me about flash prayers–I think it was a colleague at Guideposts–but the best example I ever heard of it came from my tremendously gifted and talented friend Claire Townsend.
At the time she was a producer in Hollywood, and she described a meeting where everyone sat around a boardroom table, inflated egos posturing and pushing their ideas and nobody coming to any sort of cohesive decision.
“I got the idea of zapping each person with love,” she said. It was around the time of the first Star Wars movies and Claire imagined herself spreading God’s love with a sort of light saber of compassion.
She went around the table, looking at people, thinking about their good qualities, focusing on them, seeing them, if you will, through God’s eyes.
She noticed that as the meeting progressed, things became less contentious, more creative, more cooperative. It turned out to be very productive.
Shortly after that Claire left the studio and set out on an exciting spiritual journey which culminated in a wonderful documentary about Peace Pilgrim, a woman who had given up all her earthly belongings to walk across the United States in the cause of peace.
Claire herself was that sort of person, someone who could spread good will and peace. Sadly, she died at age 43 of breast cancer.
But as all of us know, good people, compassionate people who have given you ideas about prayer, methods you can never forget, don’t ever really die. They have helped you understand how God’s kingdom can be advanced on this earth. Through what they taught.
So at Lent, I’ll be zapping a few light sabers of love. For Claire. For what she believed in. For peace.