Friday, March 8, 2013

Prayer: Part One

Prayer is complicated. Let me start off by saying, I'm not talking about liturgical prayer, prayers written into the canon, prayers said by rote, group prayers, prayers written by others. For me, these prayers are the warm up act. At best they bring me to readiness. When I talk about prayer, I'm talking about personal prayer. I'm speaking of the the yearning and crying of my heart. I'm speaking of my gratitude for my many blessings and of amazement and repentance, of my decision to change. I'm speaking of being honest, seeing myself as I am and asking for help. It all started with sitting and listening.

When my mother's body died, she didn't leave me for a very long time. During the silent prayer portion of the weekly service as I sat in sadness and tears, she began to sit beside me and over time helped me learn to let go. What a shocker! She also came to me in dreams, and in these dreams she showed me she had made new friends and didn't need me so much. During silent prayer, I learned to sit and listen. Other voices came speaking of things I needed to learn. Who were these other voices? Not mine. They were the voices of my listening. They were special gifts. Sometimes I sit in readiness and listen with a soft willingness to hear and nothing happens. Maybe I'm not ready. Maybe we don't hit a homer each time we're at bat.

So I began to learn to pray when I didn't use the words of others and when I learned to sit and listen. When I began to write prayers, I was surprised at the voice I used to speak with God. Now God is another very complicated subject, and I'm not going there this early in the morning. My prayers are often spoken or written as if to a loving parent who is delighted for me to appear and is amused by my offering. When I enter this space, when I sit down to listen or to write a prayer, I feel loved. Eventually. And if I don't, if I'm hard and gnarly and confused, I stop. I feel like God turns away as if to say, comeback when you've done your homework and you're ready to speak nicely and when your heart is open again.

When I sat down to write this morning, I wanted to thank, I do thank, all the Christians and Jews and secularists who light candles and incense, those who get down on their knees and those who think of me in passing, for praying for my husband and me. I believe prayer works even if you say my name and think of me being peaceful and centered. Oh, maybe you could do just that right now! It would be great for me because I'm a bit harried now, and a bit late for getting on with my day. Whatever you say and however you do it, your prayers are most welcome and appreciated. Keep it up. I'll let you know when to stop! What seemed more important was to explain what prayer is for me. Then I could let you know whatever way you pray is great with me.

Baruch ata I am. Prayer by way of explanation. And appreciation. Good morning. Sorry I burst right in without much ado. I am so thankful for everyone who has called and written. Now I know there are lots of folks standing in a circle around me smiling and waiting to pick me up and hug me and love me when I need it most. Until then, they're happy to do lunch. I think I'm in love. Amen

1 comment:

  1. Barb--
    Last week, I came across a quote from Barbara Kingsolver (not her words, but this is the message I took away), "The person who says the wrong thing is a better friend than the one who plays it safe and says nothing." In that spirit, here goes... I don't think I have words adequate to the situation you are facing but I'm sending you a big hug.
    Pat S.