Today being Saturday – there is more time for contemplation, reflection, remembering. A friend wrote about the difficulty he has had recently in praying which triggered much thought of my own today … “arrested in the after-thought …”
In some ways there are many kinds of praying … the disciplined this is Monday I pray for missionaries … Friday I pray for friends … the laundry list type … please, God, I need, I want, I must have … the formulaic … our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name. All of these prayers are examples of reality and have their place in our lives. And yet, I don’t think this is what my friend was referring to …
Yesterday I re-visited a book by a Marcia Prager, a Jewish rabbi. In The Path of Blessing she is teaching about the Jewish blessing. She makes this note in her introduction:
A simple Hebrew blessing is a powerful thing – a one-minutes, deeply meditative exercise exploring the nature of the Creative Force we call God and the dynamic relationship between God, human consciousness, and the unfolding universe. … Blessing offers us a personal consciousness-raising practice … through the practice of blessing we develop an ever deepening receptivity to the abundant love and joy flowing through Creation.
Her words reminded me of Brother Lawrence and his treatise on practicing the presence of God. Brother Lawrence writes in a letter,
I worshipped Him the oftenest I could, keeping my m ind in His holy presence and recalling it as often as I found it wandered from Him. I made this my business not only at the appointed times of prayer but all the time; every hour, every minute, even in the height of my work. I drove from my mind everything that interrupted my thoughts of God.
Paul, in the New Testament, exhorts us to pray without ceasing. It’s this continual, constant, practicing the presence of God that I want to develop. Some days are better than others – <smile> – some days the comaraderie, the intimacy of conversation is more constant, comforting, joyful. Other days are like those bleak trees in the previous post … the “abundant summery wordage silenced.”
Peterson paraphrases Jeremiah 29:13-14 in The Message … “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.”
Consciousness-raising, ever deepening receptivity, my goal … practicing the presence the God … he is here … he doesn’t disappoint.