in truth

Holy Trinity DunoonThe recurring theme in conversations this week has been prayer. And most conversations on prayer seem to dance around the same issues: not enough time, not enough confidence, not enough awareness of God.

We are our own worst enemies with prayer. We try so hard to find the perfect words, the perfect level of concentration, the perfect silence, only to meet with disappointment, distraction and annoyance.

So, today’s suggestion is: stop trying so hard.

Perfection is God’s business; yours is to be true. And if the truth today is that you are largely incoherent, scatterbrained and restless, then God will deal with it.

Sit with God long enough, with that degree of honesty, and one day you might learn to deal with it too.

7 thoughts on “in truth

  1. Hopefully I am replying in the right place this time!!! I still have my “L” plates on as regards blogging! If I am still ‘up the creek without a paddle’ I shall beg lessons from some of my more learned ‘sisters’ of the blog world.
    Praying! I just sat with a candle yesterday evening – gorgeous perfume of rose. Suddenly, without knowing why, I found myself saying – ‘God, please be with me!’ I cannot believe that the sudden sharp crack from the dresser across the room was a coincidence, as I felt very comforted at that moment.
    Yes – we should try to stop trying – but it is hard. Only the candle stopped my mind from wandering over all the problems currently besetting me – but it was worth it. So – my wish list for my birthday is settled – gently perfumed candles!

  2. Margaret — I’m glad the candle helped you hold your resolve and your found comfort in cracking dressers! I wonder if, for your birthday, there need to be a few sharp and astringent candles amidst the roses for those days when God comes not to comfort but to disturb.

    As for trying — I will now risk contradicting myself. I think we need to try very hard to be present to God, and make use of whatever resources we have (candles, beautiful spaces, regular times of prayer, private rituals, relaxation techniques, whatever…) to enable that. But that done, we need to relax.

    If we believe (as I hope we do) that God is always present, then the reality of our being with God is absolute, and it doesn’t depend on our awareness of it. We try to be present — to be open to God — in order to live more fully in the truth of God’s presence. And we grow into that truth simply by accepting it, by desiring it — even if it feels like nothing is happening at all.

    And sometimes opening ourselves up to the truth means that our present worries will come flooding in. When they do, it can feel like we’re on a tightrope. If we turn our attention to them too much, we risk loosing sight of God. But if we ignore them completely, we risk cutting ourselves off from the reality of our situation. We are in danger of trying to create a ‘disturbance free zone’ just for God. But there is no truth in that.

    I cannot pretend to know how to walk this tightrope properly. But somehow, I think the balance point has to do with accepting the emotional content of the ‘disturbance’ without thinking too much about the issues. We pray from (and through) the point of anxiety, tension, exhaustion, or joy and find God there.

  3. Kimberly,
    Your extra comments are indeed very helpful. Yes – I do believe that God is always present, but sometimes we need some specific ‘jolts’ such as cracking dressers to increase our sense of awareness. I do talk to him a lot – often I apologise – but often I just sit and concentrate, trying to non-verbally ‘communicate’ with him, letting him ‘speak’ to my problems, my anxieties, my joys etc. This is certainly not always easy to do. There are so many different ways of communicating with God, and I see all of these as forms of prayer or of living life with God
    Yes – I will put some more astringent perfumes on my burthday wish list, for the times when I know I need God to disturb me, rather than comfort me. Rose will suit me at present, though – I think I am more in need of comfort and reassurance as Brian and I change our direction in life.

  4. Do you all ever just yell at God? I find that to be prayer, too! But it helps if I am visualizing Jesus when I am giving him an earful. I’m more likely to quiet down after a while and just be with him if I do that.

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