Cláudio Carvalhaes with his mother, Esther.
An Outline for Daily Prayer – Cláudio Carvalhaes – From the Mission Yearbook
This outline for daily prayer comes from my mother, Esther Carvalhaes, now 79 years old, who taught me to pray. She gave me the grounds of my theology and my faith, though she has little formal education. I remember her praying with me every morning before I left the house. No matter how mad or late I was, she would not ever let me leave the house before she read the Bible and prayed with me.
STARTING IN GOD’S LOVE
After reading the Bible we would bow our heads in prayer, and she would always say the same phrase: “Dear God, thank you for your unfailing love.” Every morning I was reminded that God has unfailing love for me.
CONTINUING IN GOD’S PRAISE
Then my mother would praise God. She shaped a theology of gratitude that became deeply infused in my bones.
ENGAGING THE WORLD
After being showered by God’s love and embodied in God’s praises, my mother engaged the world. She prayed for the world for a long time. Afterward, it seemed as though the world was all under the shining grace of God. This step would make me believe that we could change the world and invite the world to Christ.
LISTENING TO THE WORD OF GOD
Since my mother always read the Bible before our morning prayer, after praying for the world she would remind us of what we had just read. This reminder left us without fear, trusting that the God who acted then would act today to bring liberation again into the lives of God’s people and the world.
BLESSING AND PREPARING FOR THE WORLD
At the end of her prayer, she would say how much we needed God’s presence and that without God we would not be able to get through the day. Then, trusting God’s love, she would bless me and send me out into the world with words of confidence. She couldn’t give me any money, but she gave me what she had: her love for me and the love that she had received from God.
Every morning it was as if I was immersed in the waters of my baptism — reminded constantly of God’s loving call to me. I was made ready to face the world with God’s love, to eat in the presence of my friends and enemies and prepared to share the good news of God’s salvation in the company of my Christian brothers and sisters.
— Cláudio Carvalhaes, assistant professor, worship and preaching, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary