I know from experience that maintaining a worshipful/prayerful life over the long hall can be difficult, especially in isolation – like any discipline. Some of us may feel like we’re flailing in our Sabbath observance and personal prayer. Or maybe we are wading through feelings of dryness, boredom or pointlessness.
Take heart! Such experiences are natural and part of the journey towards deepening faith. In fact, spiritual teachers through the ages suggest that the closer we get to God and the real in our lives, the greater the resistance and challenge. As I’ve discovered, such seasons can provide a wealth of wisdom and insight if we are prepared to delve into them, especially with a spiritual companion.
Whether your current journey of prayer has been difficult or joyful and freeing, I thought you might appreciate a mid-week word of encouragement. So, this from John O’Donohue (Irish priest, poet and author):
Prayer has to do with breathing. The way we were taught to pray was almost exclusively cerebral. We confined our prayers to inside the shell of the cranium. It is conceivable that one can have thousands of holy thoughts and holy words about God within one’s mind and yet be totally away from God.
…To pray is to come into presence. It is about leaving the heavy emotional, cognitive and ideological baggage outside the door. When you sit down and come into the presence it is then that you are most your self. This presence is the nearest thing to us. Simply by being still and silent, by coming into the stillness of your own heart, you will find the God that is waiting there within you for your arrival home.
And to help us get out of our heads as we open ourselves to Presence, this beautiful choral piece by a young, talented pianist composer Ola Gjeilo accompanied with photographs. Best heard with headphones on and in stillness: