bothering god

Since I’ve started down this path of the life of faith, one thing that I’ve joyfully made a part of my day has been personal prayer – usually in the morning and evening. I can’t however pray the same way every day. I need variety. Sometimes it’s a quiet/contemplative time. Sometimes I listen to music. Sometimes reading and reflection on scripture. Often times I say the office. The common denominator is that I take some time to spend with God, forming that time as the Spirit moves.

But sometimes like this morning, despite the desire to pray, I also feel “prayed out” and unimaginative. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out “how” to pray today. And so as my computer was on (I’d already checked my e-mail) I decided to pray with the Jesuits in Ireland at Sacred Space, something I’ve only done a few times.

A line in the prayer jumped out at me: “I acknowledge how I really am. It is the real me that the Lord loves.” No need to feel guilty that I’m feeling “prayed out” … God knows and loves me just the same. For that matter, I don’t even need to attempt to share my inexpressible groanings. God gets it.

But then I read today’s Gospel, where Jesus tells the disciples, and by extension us, “a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.”

He said, “There was a judge in a certain town
who neither feared God nor respected any human being.
And a widow in that town used to come to him and say,
‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’
For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought,
‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being,
because this widow keeps bothering me
I shall deliver a just decision for her
lest she finally come and strike me.’”
The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.
Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones
who call out to him day and night?
Will he be slow to answer them?
I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.
But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
(Luke 18:1-8)

Pray always without becoming weary. There’s a paradox here. God knows and loves us as we are. God knows what we are going to pray for before we do it. And yet Jesus calls on us to pray always without becoming weary. To keep bothering him. I think this says something about the relationship aspect of the life of faith. It’s a two way street. God loves us and wants to talk to us. To share our highs and lows and in a weird way wants us to keep bothering him.

Random Saturday morning thoughts over. Unless any of you in the blogosphere want to share yours.


Lisa said...

I am reminded that sometimes those are the best times to just be, and not only think of prayer as doing/saying but most importantly as being. Being in the presence of God in a conscious and attentive way, sometimes just being conscious that God is present.


Rachel's Big Dunk said...

I have long periods where prayer feels dry and unconnected. At those times it is helpful for me to remember that the experience of the prayer is not the important part. Rather it is the effect that the prayer has, both in my life and in the world at large, and perhaps even for God, that is important. When things begin to feel dry or mechanical, I sometimes embrace that by adding more "dry" or "mechanical" components to my prayer time. Inevitably I find refreshment there.