Friday, June 25, 2010

Prayer

There have been a number of posts on prayer etc this week. I note particularly this one at Everyday Thomist. Yesterday while walking alone to choir practice, I had an explanatory conversation I can't remember now about this subject - if indeed it can be called a subject. Subject like object requires a certain distance and distance is not what prayer is about, rather presence.

Here is a letter one of my characters wrote when 'explaining' to one who is beloved what prayer is about.

When you pray, speak to God as you would to anyone, and listen too.
You don’t need big words.
You don’t even have to be polite.
You can pour out your complaints to God,
(better to complain to the one who has power,
than to grouch behind his back) and you can pray in silence.
No place is required; any place will do.
Any time too, whether short or long.
But it is a secret. No outward show is needed.
The conversation and the presence are yours and God’s alone.
And when you find out what he is like,
you will not want to keep silence before others,
but you will not find it easy to explain,
and you will always remember and know his mercy.
You might ask: to whom are you praying?
But the question is not to whom – but with whom;
praying is living with God who already lives with you.
There’s a lot to say about God –
but the face-to-face encounter is better
for it is God who teaches you face to face.
Jacob wrestled with God – and his hip was dislocated.
Prayer can be tough and is intimate.
You might also ask: why pray
we’re not telling God anything he doesn’t already know;
he’s too big to care about us; what will be will be anyway.
There are many excuses not to pray,
but only one reason to pray:
we pray because we are commanded to.
I don’t mean ordered but commanded.
We are given the mandate to be with God.
To pray is not a burden in any way. To pray is to agree
to the relationship with the one who created us.
The reward is God himself.
Our mutual friend, John the Elder, names the reward: to him who overcomes I will give a white stone with a name written on it that is known by no one but only to the one who receives it. The relationship is unique and personal and forever.
Why the God of Jesus?
Why the God of the Jews, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?
No explanation will suffice.
Doing is, however, satisfactory.
You’ll know how positive I mean that word, satisfactory.
Satisfaction needs no modifier.
As the psalmist says:
O taste and see for the Lord is good.
Happy the warrior who trusts in him.