Our souls are deeply connected to God and each other through the indwelling of God’s Spirit. Yet, too often, this connection gets buried under obligations, routines, and distractions–we lose sight of our truest self. That disconnection leads to all sorts of things–the most obvious is feeling lonely or empty.
Unfortunately, the most obvious thing we do when confronted with these feelings is to fill them: with food, work, family, friends, ministry, and even things we would say are sinful.
A life of prayer, or as some call it, the spiritual or interior life, opens us to who we are and who God is. Christian thinkers throughout history talk about knowing ourselves in ways that open us to God and knowing God in ways that inform our knowledge of self. In other words, it’s hard to come face to face with God without coming face to face with ourselves and visa versa.
We need prayer to learn how to pay attention to God, to others, and to ourselves, so that, over time we become increasingly present to and shaped by the ways of God.
Years ago I read a book on prayer that deeply challenged me to a “life of prayer”, one I simply could not sustain. Subsequent reading on the subject lead me to Richard Foster’s work, Henri Nouwen, Robert Benson, the Celtic Daily Prayer Book, the Book of Common Prayer, and the like. Through my best intentions and desires, I have found that the most I can muster is a stuttering sort of prayer life. I start with passion and fervour and slowly, over time, I’m back to hit and miss indifference or suffocating circumstances under which I do well to even think about God much less communicate with him beyond the simple phrase, “Help”!
I’ve long since come to the conclusion that I’m not a monk and nor will I ever be. I want to, because I want a life of devotion–at least, that’s what I tell myself. I want time and space to devote to God…
If you follow my blog, you have discovered I write like I pray. Infrequently. However, I plan to flesh out my thoughts on prayer over the next few posts. I want to explore devotion, “life of prayer”, and commitment to God. It’s on my mind. So, I have decided to write about it.
If you are out there reading, I’d appreciate hearing from you. Sometime in the new year I plan to overhaul my site in hopes of regenerating and priming the pump to actually write more. In other words, I hope to get out from under some weighty circumstances so that I can do more of what I want to be about in the days to come.
In the mean time, pray. If you wish, pray for us. We need it. (for more on how to pray, check out our Ministry Essentials Int’l blog.