Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Prayer Becomes Us

Prayer is such an elusive concept, much like Grace, wherein we cannot confine, or fully define, its entirety, nor are we able to attain prayer without going within. We know that we pray from a place within us that contains both compassion and concern, though we may not be able to pinpoint its origin, and we may attempt to draw it closer as we might desire a cloud to be more near, as its wisps hang just out of reach, yet knowingly encompassing us. 

Prayer is not something we can own, nor are we able to live without its dynamic influence. We must cultivate prayer as though we are growing a spiritual garden, laying up our treasures, as it were. Sometimes, we may ask another to water our garden when are in need, ill, unable, or just plain struggling, just as we may ask for another to pray for us. Perhaps God provides instances for us to pray together and for one another that we may participate in triumphs and challenges outside of ourselves, that we may nurture and grow love and compassion within ourselves.  That we may put away ourselves and take up the cross of another, just as Simon the Cyrenian carried the cross for Christ toward Golgotha, which may help us realize how closely knit we all truly are and so we must humble ourselves to bear one another's burdens as our own. It seems to me that when our compassion, love, and understanding of our fellow man awakens and grows, so also does that place within us wherein prayer flows and Grace touches. 

Prayer does not always look the same, since our motivation to pray is often different. At times, we are compelled to pray due to our circumstance, or someone else's, and other times it is because there is a designated time during the day, week, etc. that is set aside to give our focus and time to God. The latter of these times, it may come easier to fully participate in our offering and participation of prayer, but at the appointed times, it can be easier to let our minds wander into another part of the week, whether it is past or future, or any other time and place. Perhaps one of the works of a Christian is to learn to fuse prayer into contancy with fervent compunction and compassion, and, over time, we may "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thess. 5:16-18) 

It is one cross fashioned to bear Christ, one Son of Righteousness to bear the sins of all mankind, one act of selfless love to bear generations of selfishness and greed, one woman to bear the uncreated Light more spacious than the Heavens. I am fond of imagining that each of our own crosses is made up of pieces of the cross which bore Christ, intertwining us completely and, sometimes, unknowingly. If we are to put on Christ, then it would stand to reason that we must take up our neighbor's cross with our own, pray for all selflessly and without ceasing, and give God thanks in all things. 

Ok, I think I am done. Thanks for listening!


Martha said...

I'm in the midst of listening to this talk about prayer:
Father Kosmas has such a wonderful Australian accent and talks about how prayer is often not from the heart in true. ♥ I highly recommend this CD.