Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Being the Prayer

Being a prayer...rather than seeing prayer as something we do...can seems strange to many of us.  After all, we tend to compartmentalize and categorize prayer.  Prayer is a running monologue with God.  Prayer can be listening or singing music.  Prayer can be walking in creation.  Prayer is sitting in silence.  All of these are true.  But just as a doorway is not the whole house, neither are any of the above.  They are the beginning.  Paul in First Thessalonians 5:17 says we are to, "Pray without ceasing."  That might mean mumble and muttering constantly, continually.  It might even mean a returning, running, reoccurring spirit that we step into.  Or, as I hear this invitation, that we would be the prayer.

But I think part of prayer, the part that frustrates so many and confuses all the rest of us, is that we are not in control.  Prayer too often treats God like a vending machine, trying to get what I want.  Or like a teenage pleading to her parents to let her do something.  We treat God like we have to convince God to intervene or interrupt the current state of events rather than that we are in relationship with God.  To be the prayer means that it is not just mind that is in the driver's seat but my whole being.  Prayer is living fully into the mind/body/spirit dimensions.  Prayer is being open to the graces of God's grace woven into every moment.  Prayer is about making our broken spirits whole, which we cannot do alone, nor can we sit passively on the sidelines waiting for God to do all the work.

It is, as Richard Rohr calls this, a divine dance.  God is always about relationships.  And relationships will place both demands and delight us in profound/powerful ways.  Being the prayer is about taking one step in response to God...listening to see what the next right step is.  It is the "slow work of the Spirit" that rubs raw against our culture that wants instant answers to everything,  You cannot Google the Spirit life or a relationship with God.  You cannot manufacture or micromanage.  You step into something, a river that was flowing long before any of us and will continue to flow on long after we are gone.  Or you open yourself constantly to the One who is in a dynamic dialogue and dance with us.  Or you pray without ceasing.  It isn't one way, but it is a chance for us to continually be open to a sacred swirling and stirring that makes all the difference and makes us different.

May there be more than a trace of God's grace in this invitation to be the prayer for you in these days.

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