Sunday, July 29, 2007

a brief bit on prayer

My prayer experiences are taking an interesting turn these days. And even as I write such a statement, I realize how difficult it is for me to write about prayer. I have been striving for a prayer experience that brings joy to God, and satisfies my thirst for relationship with God, yet I realized at some point last evening that too much was standing in the way of fulfillment. I have caught myself in a cycle of attributing to God those characteristics that suggest that God really is who I have always been told that God was. I have come to be involved with a god who exists solely to make my lifer easier, or if not easier, more navigable and stable than it has ever been. However, I have been reminded by the God who created me that I can only have a fulfilling prayer life if I am giving, instead of being solely intent upon receiving.
When faced with difficulties, I do in fact know that I will be taken care of. It is not a cliche to be reminded that others are indeed suffering, and often alone. Because I am in relationship with a loving God, and because I am in relationship with family and community, I have hope that some may not, I see a light at the end of the tunnel where others might not, and I choices that others might not have, or might not see, I am far from the bottom of life's experiences.
But what does this have to do with prayer. It means that I can finally stop filling my conversations with the Creator with wish lists, honorific titles, and invitations of blessing, and replace such prayer with that of honest discussions about who I am, what can I learn, and how should I continue forth in a manner discerning of God's plan for me.
Honesty in prayer is a big step for me. Not because I was full of lying to God, but because I was not taking inventory of my relationships with, and to, others in my life. I was praying for providence, without understanding why it is that I might be hurting, or why I might be expected to experience pain or difficulty. The fact is, life goes on in fits and starts, and God promises to be there for me, especially in prayer and in presence throughout the day, so that I might have clarity on living out a loving response to tragedy or suffering.
What I am truly thankful for is not that God solves my problems as I wander through life in obedience and faithfulness, but that God's presence is so real even when I am not obedient or faithful. I am finding that using prayer as a means of to an end of self-awareness and honesty is much more fulfilling than saying thanks for the many blessings, please pass some more.

No comments: