How does one see prayer? Not sure. I hear prayer. Experience prayer. But somehow today, I saw prayer. How? I can’t say . . . an inner seeing . . . an insight. Recently, I have been reflecting on prayer, and more specifically, my own prayers. And these reflections have stirred restlessness. I have been lazy, disinterested, and unconcerned with how I pray. I have gotten sluggish and comfortable. I see how I am with prayer, and I don’t like how it looks.
Yet, I find that I am not sure how to approach this. Prayer has become difficult. By this I mean that the more that I want to pray, the less I seem to know how to do it. I have heard others repeat hundreds of prayers, and they all seem to sound the same. Overused phrases. Obsolete vocabulary. Redundant requests. These prayers sound like God only hears a certain kind of language.
Then there are prayers that tell God pretty much what is expected. Do this, please. Help this, please. Make this happen, if you please. I need this, if you please. But where else would we plead for these things?
Then there are thankful prayers that express gratitude for giving this or doing that or helping with this. I can’t say that I have ever heard a thankful expression for high blood pressure or a flat tire or high taxes or . . . How would gratitude be expressed for those things?
I don’t know. I suppose each of us would have to find our own thankful reasons.
Anyway, I am not writing this to dismiss the way people pray. I am questioning my own practice. I am not content with the usual, the expected, the just-say-the-words types of prayer. Seems to me that these place God in an awkward position. Lately, my thoughts reflect around the idea of God as a partner.
How do I pray to a partner? To the One Who Is With Me? Do I make requests of my partner but not involve myself? Do I thank my partner for the good but not the bad? Do I talk but not listen? How do I pray to a partner who is way bigger than I am but has become human-sized?
Ah . . . seeing prayer.
Day twenty of the Thirty Days of Seeing