Some Thoughts on Prayer

I love love love Julian of Norwich’s words on prayer – she emphasises the working of the Holy Spirit prompting us to pray. Since I began this type of prayer, my life has changed. Now, I know that when I am prompted to pray, it is because the prayer will be answered. I think she writes something along the lines of ‘prayer is the deliberate and steadfast action of the soul’ i.e. it’s not just me having a conversation with God (which is a step forward from a list of requests), it’s a deep communion of my made-in-His-image soul. What a gift.

 

As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    ‘Where is your God?’
These things I remember
    as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
    under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise
    among the festive throng.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Saviour and my God.

My soul is downcast within me;
    therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
    the heights of Hermon – from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
    in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
    have swept over me.

By day the Lord directs his love,
    at night his song is with me –
    a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my Rock,
    ‘Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?’
My bones suffer mortal agony
    as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
    ‘Where is your God?’

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Saviour and my God.”

A Pastor's Thoughts

The Lord’s Prayer is an expression of faith. It assumes that human beings are not self-sufficient but dependent on God. It is not a sign of weakness to pray but a sign of our humanity. Prayer acknowledges our need for God. Prayer is surrender. In his book, The Reaffirmation of Prayer, E. Glenn Hinson says that “the key to human existence lies in surrender to God, putting one’s self and one’s affairs utterly and with complete child-like trust in God’s hands.” The concepts of need and surrender are at the heart of our prayer lives.

There is not one among us who would make the outlandish claim of be totally self-sufficient and without any need. Even more outlandish would be to pretend that we have no need of spiritual strength and nourishment. One of the keys to an effective prayer life is to become comfortable with need. This need…

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