Harwich Soundings – January 23, 2017
With Christ in the School of Prayer was a popular mid-twentieth century book on prayer by Andrew Murray. Assuming that disciples of Christ are students, the title implies that we continue to learn what prayer is and grow in how to pray throughout the faith journey. Like so many aspects of following Jesus, it’s a lifetime project. If ‘for everything there is season’, then the season for praying is ever present.
An entry from John Killinger’s Beginning Prayer provides some useful food for thought and prayer:
“Prayer is coming into the presence of the One who loves us all the time…and waiting in that presence, merely being there in that presence. That’s all. Coming and waiting and being there. Prayer, you see, is a fellowship, a meeting, a merging.
You don’t even have to talk when you don’t want to or don’t know what to say. All you have to do is to become aware of the fellowship, to pay attention to it the way you would if you were with an ordinary friend…
God accepts you in silence as well as in words. All you have to do is feel God’s love for you, and when you feel it, respond in any way your heart wants…You pray in order to feel God’s love and to give God your love.” (Alive Now, Jan-Feb 2017, p.39)
Most mornings I begin the day in quiet, seeking to be intentionally present to God. Maybe I should say ‘with God.’ I sit, light a candle, maybe read a psalm, ponder some devotional resource like Alive Now, perhaps pray through my prayer list, read something from a book or magazine. (I usually have 2, 3 or 4 going at the same time—currently Fear of the Other, Cure of the Soul, America’s Original Sin, Christian Century and Sojourners magazines)
Since retiring there’s been more just sitting…in silence….letting my mind drift…opening myself consciously to God. Some mornings I have to try to get into the mood to pray. Other times the fellowship, the communion, just happens…. unfolding into a vivid sense of being in God’s presence. The frame of mind and heart in which I begin is subtly transformed. When I’m finished I often feel more centered and ready for whatever the day will bring.
I’m learning that it’s all prayer. I’m giving myself to a quiet time and space in which the prayer relationship happens. It’s so much a mystery, but something, Someone, keeps drawing me in…
How is it with your prayer relationship? What are you learning in this lifelong school of prayer?