There are many misconceptions about prayer. What exactly are we trying to accomplish in our efforts to connect with the Divine? Do we hope to somehow alter the course of human history, or at least, that part of human history that directly affects us? Do we wish to receive some elusive peace in the midst of our stormy lives? Do we long for the opportunity to say thanks to the Source of the Universe for blessings that we have experienced? Do we wish to simply connect with something that is bigger, more true and beautiful? Prayer can be all of these things and much, much more.
We are told in the Bible that on a number of occasions, Jesus went away to be by himself to pray. Oftentimes, this happens when he has been engaged in a demanding period of ministry, and he needs to connect once again with the One who has commissioned and is guiding his course through life. Its as if Jesus pushes a pause button so that he may once again think and see and behave in accordance with his true identity.
Many of us have become rather adept at packing our lives with activity. We schedule every minute and fill every nook and cranny of every day with busyness. Much of this busyness is important and perhaps even necessary. And yet, without some pause in our lives, without some occasion to step aside to reconnect, it is very easy to become bitter, disillusioned, and lost.
In her poem entitled Praying, Mary Oliver describes time spent in pause and prayer like this…
It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
This day, take some time to pause, to pay attention, and to walk through the doorway to the One who is waiting.
This day take some time to pause, pay attention, and walk through the doorway to the One who is waiting.