Yesterday I met with my spiritual director and we discussed the "task" of prayer. Like many protestants I have viewed prayer as something that one does. I get up; I say a prayer; I get on with the real business of the day. In the process, hopefully, I grow from being a newbie 'pray-er' into a mature and accomplished 'pray-er.' This was the crux of our discussion. I mentioned to him that the more I experience prayer, the more I realize how little I know about it.
His response was that I probably needed to view the time in prayer as "being" with God, not progressing from one level of proficiency to another. There is no destination to be reached or goal to be achieved. As I reflected on this, and other input and experience, I have begun to realize that prayer isn't really something that one does. It's something that we become. Prayer is an attitude that consumes one's life, not simply a task that can be checked off of a "done" list.
Yes, I'm still a newbie. But, Thomas Merton wrote that we will always be considered beginners as we sound the depths of God's great love and goodness.