Thursday, March 1, 2012

Prayer is hard work

As I journey on in learning more about prayer, I'm discovering how difficult it is. Yes, some say that it is so simple that a child can do it. True, but I'm not a child. I've read what some of the 'master' of prayer and the contemplative life have written, and there's nothing in them that says 'simple.' In fact, they almost unanimously describe prayer as hard work. It is. Our will is not something that is easily bent away from its own comfort. We like the path of least resistance. To sit in the presence of Yahweh, and focus, pay attention, seek expectantly, watch and listen is difficult. Usually, after a short time, my mind wants to wander and imagine...anything but remain still. This is where I usually would stop and assume that the prayer time was ended. However, I'm finding that it's important at precisely that moment to persevere and redouble my effort to focus. The Psalmist spoke to his soul. I find I am doing that. "O my soul, pay attention to the Lord. O my soul, listen; watch; seek."
I've heard many people say that prayer is something we should do because it benefits us. That's how we receive our 'spiritual food' from God. And, I think that this is partly accurate. What is more important, I think, is that we find our proper posture before the Creator of the Universe and can learn about God's purposes in the world. Prayer is the communicative link to our Lord and Master. Do we receive explicit and detailed instructions? Usually not. At least for me at this time, I hear more about Yahweh's character. God is about compassion for the 'other.' The Lord is about moving outward, not inward on self. Love, patience and mercy are present where the Lord is. Yahweh is interested in heavenly kingdom stuff. If this is accurate, then it points to where our interests and energy should be focused. Being a servant of God means to attend to our Master's interests. Just a thought.

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