Tuesday 18 October 2011

Thoughts on prayer

Many people seem uncomfortable with prayer. They don't know where to begin or what words to use. Many seek help with this and for me this is where the problems begin. Prayer is personal and its experience is personal and unique. So how do we begin. What can help us move into prayer?

Many will ask what's it like? Or, 'teach me to pray.' I can only explain what it is like for me, and like Jesus, I will use a modern parable. A parable is a story that speaks to the heart in a special way, a parable can be familiar or new but a truth is expressed that somehow finds a home in the hear-er.

This story is one from the days before I entered religious life.

I remember being invited to a party with a girlfriend. It was in the early days of our relationship when minutes spent apart just seem endless. I went to the party that was full of people that I knew and with whom I was 'at home.' Something was missing. Although happy to be there, something was missing. Then the door opened and there she was ... no words spoken ... just a smile and the knowledge that all I wanted was there. Conversations carried on with friends and the occasional stolen looks across the room. Everything had changed, life was full and the room was was full of the beautiful evening sun.

For me that is what prayer is like. God comes into the room of my life, a life that is so familiar, spent often in the company of people whom I love, and then it is suffused with the presence of the One to whom it all belongs, for whom it is all for. It can be joyful but silent, companionable with stolen glances to reassure one another that the other is still there.

Prayer is something I need to live. It has to be as real as the communication between lover

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