What have your prayers been like lately?
Do you believe in prayer?
Please do not take anything I have to say as ‘truth,’ let my reflections simply be a perspective to inform your own inquiry. Let it be a way to recognize what is true for you.
Here are my thoughts today on the topic.
Prayer can be a formal utterance or an unformed yearning of the heart…
I love what my friend, Therese of Lisieux says about prayer…
She says, ‘To me prayer is a cry of gratitude from the heart, a look of love.’
Don’t you just love that???
My prayer has been shifting quite a bit lately.
For a couple years there has been this yearning within me.
It has been wordless
but the feeling sense is captured by these lines of the
Spiritual Canticle by John of the Cross,
O who can heal my wound!
Quickly, surrender to me now.
As of today, please send me no more messengers
who cannot tell me what I want.
Showering a thousand graces
he came hurriedly through these groves,
he looked at them and in
the radiance of his gaze
he left the woodland robed in beauty
O crystal brook, if on
the silver surface of the water
you instantly might form
the eyes I most desire!
I feel them in me like a scar!
As I said this has been my prayer for a few years now.
Then something happened.
Last month the prayer changed.
I was attempting to open my heart to utter a word
and no word would come.
The wordlessness has felt like sheer reduction,
it has felt like LIFE itself has simply silenced me these past years.
When was the last time you felt so reduced?
Reduced to reminiscing upon inspiration in the past?
Remembering what it felt like to be enlivened with a brightness that caused certainty in your step and light in your eyes and heart?
Held in a place of recalling when words of prayer were a cascading waterfall or a self-fulfilling prophecy?
Have you ever felt so reduced that your reminiscing only increased the ache longing for fulfillment?
This has been the fruit of my reminiscing, just like John’s words,
‘Send me no more messengers that cannot give me what I want!’
The ache has been in my like a scar…
and the sensible fulfillment has felt gone.
Not just gone, but nowhere to be found!
That was it. I finally found the words last month.
What I longed for was nowhere to be found.
Even prayer and words were nowhere to be found!
Something very honest happened in me with all this effort.
I began to utter
DO FOR ME WHAT I CANNOT DO FOR MYSELF
and not long after a burst of light
like the images we see of the star of Bethlehem
cast its rays through me, within me, throughout me.
One ray reached into a place of my heart longing for its touch.
There is a great Gospel story that came to my heart later during that lovely day of shifting prayer. It is the parable of the lost sheep.
Jesus talks about a shepherd walking along the rolling green pastures with his sheep. As they travel along the shepherd realizes that he has only 99 sheep, which means ONE is missing!!!
The shepherd LEAVES the 99 to go in search of the ONE.
It seems to me this searching of Jesus is Spirit or Consciousness seeking Wholeness. The 99 were whole, integrated and complete so the searching and finding of the ONE seems to be a coming home into wholeness, the Self seeking healing and reintegration.
What I love about that story is that the shepherd spares NOTHING to FIND what is missing.
If you have ache within you, do you want to be found?
What could be your prayer today?
FIND ME is still my prayer alive today.
What is yours?
Prayer isn’t this or that.
It isn’t a formula or an edict, or even a way of holding ourselves responsible
at least not to me.
It is a wordless cry of the heart.
What could your prayer be today?