Sunday, October 21, 2007

Perfection in Prayer

Prayer is not about perfecting a technique. I have had a tendency to focus on technique, or get frustrated when times of prayer are cluttered with mental distractions, or dryness. The danger in naming a blog "learning to pray" is that it can give the impression that prayer is something to be perfected. Prayer is part of a dynamic relationship with a living God. God never changes, but we do, therefore the way we pray and communicate with God and the way he communicates with us is never the same.
I want it to be clear that learning to pray is part of the process of transformation, and the fruit of this process is experiencing a loving God and loving others.

I know a lot of Christians like order, and I hate to disappoint them, but in my experience with the things of Spirit, Spirit is unpredictable and messy. Learning to pray is not a linear process and for some people the unpredictability of learning to pray is going to drive them nuts. It's so important not to judge each individual prayer time. We need to stay committed to the unpredictable, unfolding, process of transformation and grace that takes place when one commits oneself to learning to pray.

The way we pray will probably change over time. The way we pray is slightly different for everyone. No two Prayers are exactly the same! Go through the Bible sometime and look at all the different ways people prayed.
Daniel got down on his knees three times a day to pray. Peter prayed on his roof at lunch time. Jesus would disappear into the wilderness to pray. Ezekiel was told to lay on his left side for 390 days and then on his right side for 40 days!!!

If you are in a good groove, stick with it, but always be open to Spirit when you pray. I have discovered that the way, or ways I pray are unfolding as I have tried to listen to Spirit and tried things from authors and people I know are mature in their faith. It takes a lot of trial and error and openness to Spirit. It takes confidence in a loving God, who, as one author said in regard to prayer, loves us most of all, perhaps, when we try and fail.