Prayer

Feb 03, 2020

“Prayer is not primarily saying words or thinking thoughts. It is, rather, a stance. It’s a way of living in the Presence, living in awareness of the Presence, and even enjoying the Presence.”[1]

 

So often I think that we limit prayer to just another ”should” in our lives. “I should pray for myself and friends and family.” “I should say the Lord’s Prayer more often.” “I don’t know how to pray, but I do know how to say the memorized prayers.” But prayer is actually much more than petitions and the Lord’s Prayer and other memorized prayers. It is an attitude of openness towards God throughout the whole of our lives, throughout all of our days, encompassing all that we do from work to family to leisure time. Prayer is an attitude of opening up to the presence of God, to increasingly bringing our lives under His direction and instruction. Then the written prayers, the petitions just fit neatly into this canopy of love and devotion to God; they are just a small part of it.

 

In its broadest sense, prayer is an openness to the presence of God, a welcome to all that God is doing in our lives, a heeding of all He suggests to us through

what He says directly to us in our minds,

what we read in the Bible,

to suggestions through others that resonate with us and

to the meaning of what is happening in our lives at any given time.

It takes a mind nestled in the Lord’s to hear all that He is saying to us and to see what He is doing in our lives. Remember Jesus said to us, “Blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear…”[2] when we are open to the Lord. Prayer is the great umbrella that shields us and protects us, that accompanies us throughout everything that happens to us, that keeps our minds focused on God, rather than on the world.

 

An umbrella does not turn off the rain and insure sunny skies. Prayer doesn’t protect us from pain and suffering, but it does insure that we walk through everything in the presence of our Lord who sees us through anything. Think of Paul after his conversion experience of Christ on the road to Damascus. He suffered so much—people turning on him, a near shipwreck, jail time, and more, but he was dedicated to his purpose to spread the Christian message through it all:

“Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom we                         have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we[c] boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.  And                             not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  and endurance                                     produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been                               poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”[3]

Prayer is the stance, the approach to God. Prayer is the vehicle, if you will, that brings us to our destination: to living in the mind of Christ. As we dedicate ourselves to Him through prayer and being in His presence, then He will guide us to that destination, in the way that he designed each of us to get there. There, living in the mind of Christ, we realize all that we were meant to be in total partnership with Him, as He leads us.

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Questions to ponder over the week: How essential to me is my prayer life? Am I good at petitions and at just sitting in the presence of God? What is the Lord asking of me as I pray? How much do I depend on Christ to guide me? How much do I trust His leadings? Would I go all the way with Him?

 

Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who are in tune with God throughout our days. May we listen deeply for all that He says to us and may we obey Him completely. May we bask in His love.

 

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Check out my other website, deepeningyourfaith.com, for information about spiritual practices and more writings about the spiritual life. New posts 2x a month. 1.20.20s is entitled, “What are we enslaved to?”

 

 

[1] Fr. Richard Rohr daily email 10.29.18

[2] Matthew 13:16

[3] Romans 5:1-5

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