When Jesus taught us to pray, he did not say:
– Oh Wind, or Water…
– Oh Ground of All Being…
– Oh Soil in which we are rooted…
…Hallowed be Thy name.
Consequently, most learned to pray, and made visceral connections to prayer, using person images of God. Most have no connection to non-Our-Father kinds of prayer.
And prayer is falling on hard times. Most Christians I know, if they pray at all, meditate. But we don’t pray for each other.
Meditation resonates. It is a practice in listening for the Inner Divine; quieting ourselves that we may be more tuned to the Inner Voice. It is a practice in awakening our sense of the connection we have to the Divine Presence that is in and around everything; that is the ligament connecting all that is.
But we don’t pray for each other any more.
Twenty years ago when I was first learning to meditate, I had only one image of God in my mind; our Father. However, I knew that centering prayer was doing something profound in me. I was attending a meditation group and had a spiritual director. She was a kind, older woman in her 80’s who had been meditating herself for 25 years.
One day I asked this deeply virtuous woman how she scheduled her life. “Centering twice each day, “I said, “I really don’t have time to do my other praying; my ‘intercession’ praying; my ‘praying-for-others praying.’”
She responded. “Doug, you might think what I used to think. You might think that God is waiting for you to pray before he intervenes in the lives of the people you love and lead. You might think that unless you pray, God won’t be at work redeeming, restoring, healing, teaching, or unfolding their lives.
But if we think of God as the Ground of All Being, the soil in which we are all rooted, the Divine is not dependent on your prayer to be a sustaining Reality in their lives. Your job, she told me, is to hold yourself before the Indwelling Presence through your meditation practice. Your job is to allow yourself to be transformed, awakened, and alerted to the Divine Reality. Then, simply listen for small promptings of the Spirit within you. Your prayers, she said, will become your actions, your deeds.
And those words from this kind and gentle woman were like a forehead slap for me. I knew that! I had already sensed deeply that God is God, and I am safe. Divine goodness is not waiting on me to be expressed. It always is. It is always available. It is always moving.
Why did I think it was held up until I started praying?
That being said…
In the next post, I’ll say that I still pray for others. But it is not because I believe Divine goodness waits on me.