I sometimes forget that prayer is not a one sided activity. I read, I talk to God, I commit to Him. And then....
This is not always a "felt" something. It may not be perceived by me at
all. But when I am speaking with Jesus and reading His Word and
committing myself to live for Him, an amazing thing is going on. He
is actually here. Not just in my imagination, not by an act of wishful
thinking. Jesus is genuinely here.
I can forget this breathtaking reality when my prayer has been dry or
weighed down with distractions. But Jesus is truly here, regardless
of how I feel. AND...
He is doing something. Sometimes He brushes my spirit with His
presence, sometimes He breathes a word of Scripture into my life,
sometimes He lets me see a path I might be called to take. But always
He is here, and always He is acting.
When I pray with
Scripture, I must make a first step, pick up my Bible, and thus open the
"door" of prayer. As I read and talk to God, I open my heart to Him more widely. But
it can be hard to keep a door open, especially if it's only slightly
ajar. Its natural tendency may be to swing closed. I must make an
effort to hold it open. I compare this to the way my mind can drift as I
try to keep it open to Christ in prayer. Sometimes I have to find
"props" to help me refocus and keep that door from slamming shut.
But there's one thing I've noticed about doors. When they're partially
open, they often close under their own weight. Yet when they are
opened beyond a certain point, most of them stay open on their own.
Yesterday I began to feel God's help in keeping the "door" open. It's
almost as if I'd been holding it until my arm had grown tired, and then,
quite unexpectedly, Someone took the weight of it from me.
Then, it's as if He walked in. Somehow, it was as if He stepped more
deeply into my life, into my awareness, into my prayer, and quietly led
more of the "conversation." And as impossible as this is to describe, I
know I should not use the phrase "as if." There's no "as if" about
it. Our Lord let me know, in some mysterious way, what I had believed
by faith all along.....
that He is here.
"Experiences of God are far, far more than anything we can fabricate
for ourselves.... when God gives someone the unspeakable experience of
Himself in contemplative immersion, He leaves no stone unturned." (Father Thomas Dubay SM, Fire Within, Ignatius, 1989, p. 47)
Painting: Josep Benlliure Gil, in US public domain due to copyright expiration
This is a slightly edited repost from November, 2012. It is being linked with Theology Is A Verb and Reconciled To You for 'It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday'