Saturday, March 10, 2012

Desiring God: praying

In our cynical age it it has become vogue to attempt to be hip and ironic even in our approach to matters of faith, especially to God and prayer, which typically results in being either directly or indirectly disparaging of those who seek to cultivate their spirituality according to the spiritual disciplines that for some 2,000 years have constituted Christian living. This is one response to the reality that spiritual life consists of often long periods of dryness, of at least of seeming to wander in the wilderness. Praying all the time, or at least regularly, meaning daily, is a challenge. If we are not aware of all this, it is easy to feel a fool and the take the stance of an outsider, as someone who observes others and who excludes himself, someone who holds back from the fray, from the agon, convinced that it is a fool's game.

Julian of Norwich conveyed what was revealed to her about dryness in prayer: Pray inwardly though thou thinkest it savour thee not, for it is profitable, though thou feel not, though thou see nought, yea though thou think thou canst not. For in dryness and in barrenness, in sickness and in feebleness, then is thy prayer well pleasant to me, though thou thinkest it savour thee nought but little and so is all thy believing prayer in my sight."

When it comes to what to happens when we pray, Metropolitan Anthony tells us that in prayer, as in life, "We must be ready to receive from God whatever experience is sent." He is quite right to observe that when we pray one day and feel God draw close we fall into the temptation of expecting the same thing to happen the next day and are disappointed, sometimes even unto despair, when this does not happen. God does not only draw near to comfort us, to bolster us, to give us a big warm fuzzy, especially the closer we draw to Him. Anthony reminds us that God's drawing neigh occurs in a number of ways; "it may be joy, it may be dread, it may be contrition," or a variety of other ways. So, we have to keep in mind "that what we are going to perceive today is something unknown to us, because God as we new him yesterday is not God as he might reveal himself tomorrow." Always remember, "our God is a consuming fire" (Heb. 12:29).

1 comment:

  1. When I raise my heart and mind to God in prayer, I do expect change and to be changed.