Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Personal Prayer

I have been somewhat putting off writing this blog, but there are only three more to go and I feel the moment is upon me. Personal prayer has, of course, been a vital part of my discernment. My difficulty is that that I don't have a method and I'm back in murky waters trying to convey anything about my personal prayer life. I don't have anything against methods, and I know many people find them helpful. For several years, I used to believe that if I could only find the right method a whole new world of certainty about divine mysteries would open up. I have, however, generally found myself either distracted by my consciousness of the method. Method thus became a barrier rather than assistance in my prayer life. The fact of needing a special method made prayer seem difficult.

One happy day, the thought crossed my mind that there was God, all-powerful, all-seeing, all-knowing, and here was little me, with none of those attributes, and exactly how hard was God going to make it for me? I steer clear of descriptions of God because our human perception and vocabulary can't describe the Infinite, but I do feel confident to say that God is not petty. This enables me to see my prayer life simply. Simplicity is the key. Everything about God is simple. We make the complications. We erect the barriers. Often that's a defence, because identifying complexity often means being able to argue that I would do what I think God is asking, but..., when God is actually suggesting simply that I DO IT.

This insight has really freed me in my personal prayer life. Sometimes I talk to God one on one (this includes complaining, asking, questioning, expressing gratitude, being angry, etc.); sometimes I just sit in silence and let whatever happpens happen: I let myself be in God. If my mind drifts, I offer the drift to God. In the last few years, I have re-discovered the value of devotional prayers, such as the rosary. I don't think God scores me on how I approach my prayer. I feel the important thing, as in so many aspects of life, is perseverance: keep on praying even when it's hard, when it's dry, when there is no answer. The purpose of my prayer is to help me enter more closely into the divine mystery and that means, frequently, praying into the darkness.

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