Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Prayer: What Is It?

Something interesting is happening to me. Each day I’m becoming more and more conscious of my prayer life. I wish I were becoming more conscientious instead, but I’ll take conscious. I thought as I got older my prayer efforts would be more focused. Instead, just the opposite is happening. My idea as to what form praying takes is getting broader and broader.

Must prayer include words that are spoken or just thought? Must my eyes be closed? Do I need to be in silence? Can I pray through listening to music? Seeing art? Observing Nature? How about experiencing prayer through dance or the faces of grandchildren or someone’s touch – is that prayer too? Poetry anyone? Wonderful food? A glass of water? Is it possible anything can be prayer?

Who is able to answer such questions? Everyone and no one. Everyone answers these questions for themselves. No one answers them for anyone else. Prayer is that personal.

For me, prayer is more an attitude than an action. It is an awareness of the Divine, God’s Spirit that many times sneaks up on me and surprises me with a Holy punch! Wham! God IS here! It cannot be forced. It doesn’t always happen when I employ traditional prayer forms. Most of the time it just happens.

That puzzling scripture from Paul as found in 1st Thessalonians 5:16-19 is more intriguing and at the same time more and more a comfort to me: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.”

Praying is a lot more fun now and that’s a good thing to me. Because prayer is a lot more necessary too! Or is that just my attitude?


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