I waited with relish for this morning’s facetime. Having woken in the middle of the night, and had an extended “duvet huddle” with Him (the rain was pattering on the windows, Cate! It was gorgeous! – http://wingedprisms.com/2014/10/06/the-sound-of-silence/)
The topic He put on the pillow? Prayer.
And as He and I mulled thoughts, ideas, pointers, direction and meanders … I wondered: “Am I praying? Does this kind of time together “count” as prayer?”
Because a comment from Julia had brought “group prayer” back to mind.
Julia had added a post I thought quite beautiful: Gentle Breeze: “Our prayers are acceptable whoever we are” –
”Sometimes the simplest form of communication and the most heartfelt, can be the most powerful.” http://reflectionsduringlent.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/our-prayers-are-acceptable-whoever-we-are/
I have a few wordless prayers (whether “group or personal” – wordless prayers are good to go wherever and whenever). But as I lay there with Him in the silent darkness, He plopped a question down:
Isn’t this prayer “stuff” so much more simple than you all like to make it?
And then He took me away and rolled “miracles” around my mind. Why that word “miracle”, He asked. What is a miracle, He asked. Isn’t a miracle ONLY a miracle to the recipient and those observing?
Prayer … miracles … faith … communication … it was quite a night!
Then to “normal waking time” and facetime with the daily verses from SacredSpace – http://www.sacredspace.ie/ – He and I get on well with their offering of daily verses, the prompting of awareness and quiet. But sometimes I disagree with their “have a think” piece. And this week I have disagreed:
“Pray as If Everything Depends on You” – Excerpted from An Ignatian Book of Days by Jim Manney: “This means that prayer has to be urgent: God has to do something dramatic if everything depends on me.”
And then coming to this church – Caleb popped up a post this morning: “What if I prayed?” –
“Sometimes I think we like to shove ideas about praying down peoples throats. We like to preach, write, and talk about it. We like to share our feelings, thoughts, and emotions towards, and about prayer, but we don’t actually pray. Like I am doing right now, I am writing about the idea of praying, but I am not actually praying. We spend so much time talking about things, but we don’t actually put the things we talk about into action.” http://cgallanger1.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/what-if-i-prayed/
And part of me is intrigued. And part of me groans a little.
Does it really have to be its own special word and way and mystery? Because isn’t prayer simply another word for “connecting”?
And if it is simply connecting – then surely that comes in all shapes and sizes. And that connection is not about what, how, why, when, who, why (albeit it is fun to sit back and look in wonder as we all do from time to time). Is it not more a case of simple and total acceptance – “connection simply is”?
Sometimes it might be asking. Sometimes it is listening. Sometimes it is just being together. Sometimes it is simply I love you. Sometimes it is togetherness under the duvet in the middle of the night. And sometimes it is “knees please” in a group.
Yet in any and all of that … Is it really about us “getting through” and “being answered”?
Because if I doubt (if I am not sure of the connection) … if my connection is based on results (if I need evidence) … if I am the recipient rather than the miracle doer (if I am the interested observer always waiting to see what happens next) …
Does that not “break the connection”? Does that put me “outside of connection”?
And then Levi popped up a post this morning: “The Greatest Joy of God!!!!!!” –
“Far too many Christians think of God as hesitant and stingy when it comes to answering the prayers of His people. So we try to figure out clever ways of offering Him bribes or saying specific words as if they had magical powers to get God to give us what we want.” http://levithetford.com/2014/10/07/3804/
And once again I am left pondering …
His question still echoing in my mind: Isn’t this prayer “stuff” so much more simple than you all like to make it?