Monk In The World

To be a monk is to have time to practice for your transformation and healing. And after that to help with the transformation and healing of other people.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

PRAYER







I wrote in a previous post that I don't believe we serve a God who fixes things. I wouldn't mind being wrong. Just because I believe this does not make it so, but it is what I believe.
So why pray?


Mary Oliver says in one of her poems,


"I don't exactly know what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention..."

Prayer has always been the stick in the spokes of my theological wheel.

 I have spent 26 years with suffering and sickness, death and dying, and praying with patients and families in the midst of all these scenarios.

"Lord, teach us to pray."

In all the ways I have tried to understand the efficacy of prayer, quite often I feel I am just performing a clerical service that is expected of me when asked, "Will you pray for me?"

Sometimes I want to respond, "I don't know what difference it will make but I will."

"Lord, teach us to pray."

Maggie Ross says,
"...true prayer tries to gather what needs attention and let go of it in the love of God."

Ross, Maggie (2013-02-13). Writing the Icon of the Heart: In Silence Beholding (Kindle Locations 615-616). Cascade Books, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition. 

Ross reminds me here of Mary Oliver's understanding of prayer.

I couldn't agree more with these two spiritual pilgrims.

So today when I go to work, I will gather what needs attention
and let go of it in the love of God.

Amen

"Lord, teach us to pray."

Alan

ADDENDUM

At the end of her chapter on prayer Ross writes:
The deepest form of intercession is simply to open ourselves and offer God the life given us, wordlessly, in silence and stillness, in adoration, not knowing and not wanting to know for what purposes our life might be used, or what consequences, if any, there might be.29 Intercession allows a space for something to be worked out, we know not how. It tears a hole in the imprisoning membrane of our thoughts and fears so the rain of salvation may fall on us (Isa 45:8). And when we have been denuded of our ideas of how the world should be, or even what the problem is, and enter this space of intercession, we find to our wonder and joy that we are wearing the robe of glory of our original nakedness, signing the world with the full potential of Eden. In this vast and fertile wilderness we offer the life we share with God, and we wait on that loving-kindness in a silence that is both end and beginning, our source and our home.

Ross, Maggie (2013-02-13). Writing the Icon of the Heart: In Silence Beholding (Kindle Locations 680-682). Cascade Books, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition. 
Ross, Maggie (2013-02-13). Writing the Icon of the Heart: In Silence Beholding (Kindle Locations 674-680). Cascade Books, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition. 



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