Do You Pray?
Do you pray? Every day? Several times during the day? Only when you want something or someone is in need? I would have to say I do all of those and am not the most consistent person when it comes to praying. I am also like half a million other Christians, who desires a more meaningful and deeper prayer life.
I believe that the practice of the Master’s (God’s) demanding relationship with his students (us) offers a significant opportunity to those who wish to pray deeply. Experienced direction in all religions helps the disciple. In my younger experience as a Catholic we reverenced the idea of prayer but not Bible reading. We had retreats, days of recollection, seminars, and sermons on how to discuss methods of prayer. Years later as a born again Christian, we do the same thing and despite all of this, we still don’t pray consistently and methodically, and we often feel confused about how to pray. I know I often feel guilty for not praying as I should. Does this cause me to keep from asking for help on how I should be praying? Is there one special way? There are so many books out there on prayer. Believe me, I’m a librarian and I see how many are on the shelves in the 248 non-fiction section.
I recently read something that I’d like to share with you. Bear with me, please. In Zen Spirit, Christian Spirit; The Place of Zen in Christian Life by Robert E. Kennedy, this topic is discussed. He writes, “If a not-too-determined Christian were to ask a Zen teacher to teach her to meditate, the conversation might go like this:
CHRISTIAN: Sensei, I hear you are skilled in mediation. I am interested in meditation and wonder if we could talk about it sometime?
ZEN TEACHER: Of course! Let us sit and meditate together.
CHRISTIAN: That would be wonderful. When can we do this?
ZEN TEACHER: Right now! Let’s begin.
CHRISTIAN: Right now? But where?
ZEN TEACHER: Right here! On this cushion!
CHRISTIAN: Here? For how long?
ZEN TEACHER: All day, let’s begin.
CHRISTIAN: Here? Now? All day? On this cushion?
ZEN TEACHER: Of course, you said you were interested.
CHRISTIAN: Well, yes, but I hadn’t planned to do it just now. I thought we could talk about it and I could hear about your experience.
ZEN TEACHER: Let’s begin. Do it! Do it now!”
Now replace the Zen Teacher with the Lord Almighty. I believe it would go something like this:
Christian: Lord I want to pray better.
God: Okay, let’s begin.
Christian: Right now? I thought I would just wine to you and share my intentions right now.
God: Yes my child, right here and right now.
Christian: But, I don’t know what to say.
God: Just listen
To follow God and to seek His direction on prayer, we must be still and alert, ready and willing. We have to stop, meditate on Him and listen. When I truly take the time to quiet myself and be ready for God to speak, there is truly a transformation of my human heart, which, in its time and in its way, will lead me irresistibly into a relationship, a very familiar relationship with Jesus. Then my prayers flow because I am listening. How about you? I ask again, do you pray? How do you pray? What kind of prayer is most effective to you? Please share your insights on prayer. Thank you, Beth.