Thursday, October 15, 2009
Some Brief Thoughts on Prayer
These comments from the book Jesus Wept, by the Episcopal priest and writer Barbara Crafton, jumped out at me as I read them earlier and have given me a great deal about which to think. I feel certain they will for you as well."
We must begin by questioning the importance of words in our prayer. We are wedded to them, afraid of getting them wrong, irrationally afraid that if we pray for the wrong thing something terrible may happen ... We pray as if it were all up to us, when in fact, almost none of it is. We pray as if we were giving God treatment plans to follow, as if nothing could possibly work out well if we weren't there to plan it. We imagine that we must 'know what to pray for' in advance, and that we cannot pray if we don't. That if we cannot 'name it and claim it,' our prayers will be to no avail ... Often we do not know what should happen in a given situation. And sometimes we know that the things we long for cannot be ... We cannot look at prayer with an open mind and not conclude that, whatever else it may be, it isn't like placing an order at a pizza parlor ... God is in and around all of human history, absent from none of it. God is not a figure outside of our experience and in need of information about it. We don't really need to pray about anything; we're not in charge of much of what happens in the world. We can content ourselves with prayer from within it all.