In seminary you hear a lot, “make sure to develop a prayer life now, because you won’t have time in the parish.” While I will acknowledge there is a lot of wisdom in that statement, I would also push back on it. Four months into internship, it is true that I am busy. I also don’t have the community I had in seminary to nurture spiritual growth. I don’t have daily chapel, or an organized centering prayer group, or a multitude of Growth in Faith opportunities. But despite that, or perhaps because of that, I find that my prayer life is growing in the parish. Not in organized, planned ways, but out of need.
Prayer on internship has for me proven not to be about wanting to try it on, but about needing to know I am not alone. Whether I’m sitting in my car in a hospital parking lot, trying to write a sermon to speak to people’s lives, struggling to hold my own grief and concern for an ill elderly member so I can minister to her friends, or frightened by footsteps in the snow behind my house, sometimes there is nowhere to go but God. Nothing to do but to fall back into the arms of a loving God. So my wisdom would be, yes, try to develop a prayer life in seminary. But if you fail, know that God will still be waiting to catch you when no one else will.