I pray

photo credit: http://fc02.deviantart.com/fs9/i/2006/146/1/5/Silent_prayer__by_gilad.jpg

I pray.

Before I fall asleep at night and when I first wake in the morning, I pray. Nothing formal, no getting on the knees, no recitation of prescribed words, just a fitful one-sided conversation with God, often with more questions asked than answers given. I wish I could say that these conversations do the job, or that I was one of those people who seem to have effortless faith, trust that is complete, a line of communication that always provides answers...instead what I've found is that His silence provokes me to pursuit. Being dogged I leave no stone unturned, determined as I am to elicit a response. Here's a list of some of my stops along the way...

1. The Internet is a great source of spiritual sustenance. There are countless forums where one can discuss questions of faith, blogs describing one's spiritual journey, places to proclaim, proselytize, or even pray. As I was googling for an image for this post, Sacred Space came up as the first entry under 'prayer'. Curious, I clicked on it. Turns out it's a website run by Jesuit priests in Dublin, Ireland and offers a prayer for each day in numerous languages. The fact that it originates in Ireland makes it that more special for some reason.

2.I have a daily Bible verse on this blog and then another on my home page, there's Bible verse that changes seasonally on my email signature, and now I have a daily verse sent to my iphone via SMS by the kind people at Daily Bible Verse. Overkill? Probably, or not. Like helpful magazines strewn around the house to remind one of that diet we want to start in the New Year, it reflects my intention to be more pious, but also an honest love of the Bible. To my mind, it is the wisest and most beautiful book in creation. No, I've never read it cover to cover. I've failed the Bible in a Year plan, and the less ambitious New Testament in a Year plan as well. Still, I find comfort as these random daily verses pop into my life as I open my browser, my blog, or my phone.

3.There are devotional books for every purpose and persuasion. I actually own quite a few. The problem is finding the time to sit still and read them. I've found that having them delivered to my email account eliminates that excuse and helps me to start the day on a positive note. Here are two of my favorites, simply because they always have an uplifting message: Joel Osteen, Daily Word. Speaking of devotionals, Dave Earley has written two that I have found to be terrific. Currently I'm reading The 21 Most Encouraging Promises of the Bible.

4. I would be remiss, of course, if I did not mention the role of the Church, the need for community to share communion both literally and figuratively with like minded souls. Having been raised Protestant, converted to Catholicism, my view of Christianity has broadened over the years as I come to the conclusion that no one church has a monopoly on the love of Christ or the celebration of His life, death, and resurrection. Instead, I've found different churches fulfill my needs at different moments. There is nothing to compare with lighting a candle and kneeling in silent prayer before the Blessed Virgin Mary, or more uplifting than a Bible-thumping sermon by a minister like Bishop T.D. Jakes. Over the years, I've also been an intermittent member of a women's Bible study, my favorite, a year-long study of the book of Genesis.

5. Shall I mention Serendipity? I sometimes wonder if God orchestrates divine coincidences as means to communicate with us, a gentle nudge when we are moving in the right direction, his way of saying, 'I may not be there but never doubt that I can lend a helping hand.' I don't know if it's actually God's intervention or my wishful thinking, my desire to feel His participation in our lives. As to all those unanswered prayers, all those morning when I woke to the realization that nothing had changed, I don't have an answer. Upon reflection, with rear-view perfection, I acknowledge that some prayers were best left undone.
At the end of the day, I pray again. I still admire those lucky ones who feel the presence of God, who hear a special message from Him in response to every prayer. I'm not there yet, so I pray.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
-Jeremiah 29:13


Larramie said…
Gosh, my head would be whirling with questions too if I practiced all that. Since your mind has all the basics and more, perhaps it's time to simply listen with your heart.
Am going to have a look at Sacred Space now. thank you for that! Loved this post.
Vodka Mom said…
every morning when I wake up I read the passage from Daily Guideposts. It's a nice start to the day.
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