My ordinary prayer life.

I’ve heard many peoples reassuring opinions on prayer, examining the idea that there is no ‘right’ way to pray and suggesting that God wants to know what’s in your heart and doesn’t care about frippery and embellishment. Which I’m sure is true.

However, the contrast between this….

God help us

To rise up from our struggle

Like a tree rises up from the soil.

Our roots reaching down to our trouble,

Our rich, dark dirt of existence.

Finding nourishment deeply

 And holding us firmly.

Always connected.

Growing upwards and into the sun.

Amen

(Common Prayers Collection; Michael Leunig)

 

And this;

Hi God,

Um, so things are going pretty well at the moment. No one’s sick, which is always good and Billy, don’t spray that fly with the pistol, it will hurt it.

And I’ve been thinking about ways to get closer to you, but I haven’t really been able to Archie, when I tell Billy not to do something I mean you as well. OK, well that’s what I mean in future, OK?

Um, and….what was I …Or the dog, Billy. In fact just take the water pistol outside, ok.

Is something that even God shakes his head at surely?.

If it was a phone call, the other person would hang up on me, put it that way.

Even if it is fine with God, it’s certainly not fine with me. I do send out little prayers of gratitude or contemplation during the day, but honestly they feel like empty speech bubbles in a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon a lot of the time.

It’s time, if I’m really serious about this, to become more intentional about prayer, or contemplation, or meditation or whatever it is. I have been throwing that idea aroundly randomly for a while, but as with many things I’ve been more about the talk than about the action.

It’s very important to me, given that I’m flailing around a bit regarding faith at the moment, to find a method that really works; one by which I feel that there is some form of validity.

 I understand that it’s not ‘all about me’, but in order for it to be sustainable, I need to find something that I can relate to and which is fulfilling.

Any ideas?

8 thoughts on “My ordinary prayer life.

  1. I’m pretty sure the Roman Catholic church has a similar opinion to the Orthodox church (which I am a part of). In the Orthodox Church, we start with more “formulaic” prayers that are thought and acknowledged to have been written by the Holy church fathers and which we have written out for us in a prayer book. I know that the Episcopal church has one as does the RC church. Anyway, within the prayer book are the Prayers of the Hours (prayers said during specified times of day, whenever you can make it – monks and nuns have their daily lives centered around these prayers of the Hours, which are said at midnight, sunrise ~6 a.m., 7 a.m., 9 a.m., noon, 3 and 6 p.m.) and then there are prayers listed out for specific occasions and situations.

    The point to all of this is to suggest starting with just ONE of the Prayers of the Hours. In our house, we started with “Compline” at bedtime. Off and on I have begun adding in first hour prayers (7 a.m.), and the odd prayer here and there throughout the day. These proscribed prayers give me a central starting point. The idea is to start there and then take time afterwards to sit in God’s presence and if there is something on your mind, lay your burdens on His shoulders. It takes 40 days to ingrain ourselves in a new habit. The Nativity Fast (kind of like Lent but just before Christmas) is coming up, perhaps try using that time? Good luck. This is an excellent question and one I suspect more of us struggle with.

  2. Oh, I so love your honesty!
    Can’t remember exactly where right now, but scripture teaches us that He already knows whatever is in our hearts, even if we only groan in our prayers (something like that). So if he already knows . . . makes me think that prayer is and should be as much for us as it is for Him. I understand what you’re saying about wanting it to feel more valid and meaningful.
    I usually start my morning with the Lord’s Prayer, since this is Jesus’ answer to the desciples’ question of how to pray: “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, etc. etc.” but I find that, since the words are so familiar to me, my mind often wanders during the recitation. I’ve learned, oddly, that if I write it down, as if I’m writing a letter to someone, to God, I feel more engaged by my prayer and more connected to God. I’m not suggesting this to you, because I’m not qualified to offer advice. I’m just saying it does help me with the prayer process and experience.

  3. You already know I’m goofy, but I have an open ended conversation with God on most days. Just a running conversation, that is often interrupted, where I am both grateful and thanksgiving, but also needy and child-like. I can understand you’re wanting a formal conversation though. I’m not as good at formal conversation as I am at text messages and emails. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Can she pray? Yes she can. | The Aspirational Agnostic

  5. Hi, I’ve just been dipping into your blog and I know this is an old post now but it made me think of the author – Margaret Hebblethwaite. She compared prayer to a toddler learning language. We humans aren’t born able to speak language, instead we learn it from those around us. And so it is with prayer, we may babble and talk baby talk to begin with but gradually God is teaching us the language of prayer. And more than that, just as we enjoy babbling with our pre-verbal children, so too may God enjoy communicating with us at whatever stage we’re at… (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Motherhood-God-Margaret-Hebblethwaite/dp/0225667258)

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