Today I started reading Practicing the Prayer of Presence. There was one passage in the preface that really spoke to me: “Prayer is many things, yet it is one: It is the soaring of the human spirit to meet and be with the Spirit of God.”
I think maybe the reason that really touched me was that it ties together all the different things that we can mean when we talk about prayer. As the author had just covered in the book, we know prayer to be petitioning God for help for ourselves for others, we know it as just talking to God as we live our lives, we know it as reciting poetic words that we have been taught to communicate with God, we know it as sitting in silence and as experiencing God in nature. The word prayer can cover all those different things and more – and that definition makes it all make sense. Anything is prayer if it evokes the soaring of our spirit to be with the Spirit of God.
To some extent, I’ve always been a prayerful person. I don’t mean that as any kind of boast – it is just something I have always felt drawn to. When I was very young, when my family wasn’t really active in a church, I found my mother’s prayer book she had received at Confirmation and was fascinated by it. I used to pray those prayers all by myself when I was 9 or 10 years old. I tend to do a lot of “talking to God as I do my daily tasks,” and over the years I developed a strong discipline of praying for those around me. People who know me well always give me prayer requests because they know I actually do something about them. But I had never understood it in this way before.
Yet as soon as I read that passage, it rang true. That’s why I have always liked to pray – because I love that feeling of my spirit meeting with the Spirit of God.
I figure it is no coincidence that I found this Lenten discipline this year. Being unemployed, I am filled with a confusing array of emotions about life in general. I really don't know where I will land or how I will hold up my end of providing for my family if I haven't found something by the time the unemployment runs out. When I allow myself, I can become quite frightened and worry a lot. I know that when one is job hunting one should exude confidence and hope, but instead I find myself riddled with self-doubt. What a blessing it is to do something every day that lifts me up, draws me closer to God and affirms me.
The Lord works in mysterious ways; blessed are the ways of the Lord!