Monday, October 09, 2006

I can't seem to pray for myself. I feel as if every thing I would say smacks of either subtle pride (Lord, lead me to the great works I am capable of...) or hapless incomprehension (Lord, let me get this job, or do that thing, if its your will, which I have no reason to think it is...or isn't). I feel better about praying for others, which maybe is a hint.

Also, perhaps it represents progress. I used to think that I knew how to pray, that I prayed apt, godly prayers. Perhaps realizing I don't have a clue what I'm doing and that I often shouldn't open my unclean lips is a sign of growth.


Ρωμανος ~ Romanós said...

I always prefer to have others pray for me, especially my prayer partner Brock when we pray together. But when I am alone with the Lord, prayer becomes such an unselfconscious conversation with Him that I don't even think of it as prayer, and so I just reveal my need to Him. This is where praying the psalms comes in. You can take the psalms with you into your prayer closet and read them aloud or silently as if they were your own words. Gradually that's what they become, and when you're reading them as a prayer, a personal prayer, when the verses ask for the needs of the reader (that's you) you just speak them from your heart, knowing that the Father hears you; and when the verses remind you of the needs of others, the same—speak them from your heart, the prayer becomes yours. (Reading, praying the psalms on the 30 day cycle lets you experience all of them, and each time you go the round, the prayer deepens and widens.)

Back to the talking with God, praying for oneself. When I awake, I just begin thanking the Lord for giving me one more day, for having a place to sleep and a warm blanket, for the roof over my head, then for His mercy in calling me out of the world. Then I just show Him my naked and torn heart, with all its weaknesses, and I ask Him to make me strong for this day's labor. I'm lying flat on my face, and I sometimes am pretty tired, and I ask the Lord to let me rest a little, and to let the time move more slowly, and He gives me that. And ten minutes later, I awake again and look at my watch. It feels like I napped an hour but ten minutes only have gone by. And I thank the Lord again for giving me more time to just be with Him, to let Him heal my wounds, feed me with His Word (stored in my memory), and then I begin to pray for the others, for my family members, for my godbrothers, for people I know who need help. I might lapse back into realizing how helpless I am without God, how I am just a weak and limp creature, capable only of self-pity, unless He comes to me and lifts me up. And so on and on, until it comes time to get up and begin the day.

So I have prayed for myself, for others, and thanked the Lord mostly, and then I get up and start the day. Sometimes when I get into my car and drive to work (it takes about a half hour) the conversation with the Lord starts up again by itself, only usually He leads it more, and tells me things I need to know for the day.

It's not hard to pray for yourself. Just give the Lord space and thank Him for supplying your every need. Hide yourself in His all-loving and carrying embrace, hide yourself in His will, because for you there is absolutely nothing better in this life.

Anonymous said...

I am new to this blog and look forward to continued readings. As for prayer, who am I to comment. If I was a bodybuilder and theology were my upper body and prayer were my legs, let's just say that my legs would be soft and underdeveloped. The reason I write in is this: Today I was reading my favorite "pagan newspaper" (RN&R) and found a man's picture who I think you might know :-) Nice pic, great quote. I thought you were no longer in the area? If you are here, let's have lunch sometime. Though we were never close friends, I do appreciate your takes on life and God. Take care.