Archive for March 4th, 2008

I offer these reflections as a fellow struggler, often self-deceived and self-absorbed. The only care of souls I’ve been given is over my own and my household’s. And that itself is a task beyond my own virtues (such as they are and so-called). But I offer these nonetheless for my own reflection, and for correction by those more versed and learned in prayer.

I have known two levels of thoughts in prayer: those which are distractions (in the generic sense: remembering a bill needs paid, a memory of an event, idle daydreams), and those which present themselves as the accurate representation of a particular reality. It is the latter which I want to examine briefly. Say, for example, that one is praying about a promotion at work, about the health of a loved one, or some such request. The challenge in prayer, at least for me, is in the dynamic where my own thoughts stand in for what the reality of the situation is. For example, I may perceive my chances at success in a job promotion in a positive or a negative light. That perception will, of course, color my prayers. There is nothing wrong with that, per se, I don’t think, since it seems to me that such things are inescapable. But it also seems to me that in prayer we are called beyond what can be perceived (however accurately and to whatever degree of fullness), into the reality that is beyond perception. This reality will likely remain unknown to us, we will likely be left only with our perceptions and impressions, but I think that the energy of prayer necessitates that we let go our perceptions and impressions and rest in the divine darkness of God’s love, where we do not see or taste or touch or smell or hear, but only know, by way of personal experience, that God is, that we are in him, and that his love is infinite. It is here, in this sort of ignorance, that we are called into greater faith. We are called to simply offer all that we are, including our requests, and present them in full trust and confidence to the Lord. We are not precluded, of course, from seeking a specific end (such as the promotion into a new position with a specific salary; the full physical healing of an ailing brother or sister). But we are called to faith and trust, to rest in God. And so, for me, the challenge is to look beyond the seen and to rest in God’s activity where we cannot see and cannot see what it is that he is doing.



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