I have been reading The Art of Prayer and beginning to feel so confused by this inner person the authors speak of. It’s this whole idea that there are two parts of us, and when we do things like guided prayer or corporate prayer we are then dealing with our intellect and outer person. So there is another part of us that is deeper and more internal and that is meant to be the part of us that we access in prayer, which is some internal wordless self. I think when we pray and connect with God in this way we somehow are supposed to develop this deep intimacy with God. I don’t really know how to do that. I’ve been praying that God would make me capable and release me from all my personal biases that cause me to reject any movement that I might have in this area. The only thing I can compare it to is when I don’t have words for something that feels overwhelming and I simply exist in the recognition of God and ask for his mercy. I don’t know that I would call that some great form of intimacy, but maybe it is and I just need to redefine my expectations.
*I wrote this piece a few months ago - This week there is so much that has happened. The Orlando shooting was a few days ago and I’ve watched social media explode with polarized venom aimed at one another. Even in the Christian community people are yelling at each other, "no I’m more peaceful than you!" Then I fell upon an instagrammer who has five children and is losing her husband to aggressive cancer at just 28 years old, I could hardly read her blog because it was ripping me up inside. Then I saw my dad who is in remission from stage four cancer and he told me that he’s had 6 new grandchildren since his diagnosis and how much harder that makes it to think about leaving. He said leaving; like he would just walk out for a while, and yet an inevitable leaving whose permanence rips the hearts out of the remaining.
I generally exist in a state of positivity as I lead a pretty happy and easy life. I’m not always connected to the pain existing in the world around me, because how do we survive empathizing with the world’s wounds? But for some reason this week I can’t stop thinking about how bad it is, this life. It’s so bad and we will all have to survive the pain and all I can seem to say to is, “oh lord Jesus have mercy on us.”
Then suddenly in the middle of it all I was praying. I was doing what I was supposed to do but it wasn’t about me. When I sit around asking God for intimacy so that I might connect in some deep part of myself I find that instead I’m just really confused and a little bored. When I pray deeply for the brokenness of this world that’s a prayer I understand, it’s worth saying. I still don’t get it, I’m still not learning what I think I’m supposed to. I do not understand this intimacy I’m meant to discover. Instead I feel myself pulled action and pulled towards a grief over the pain of our world. Through this process of prayer I was told that I would discover very deeply that it’s not about me. I did it the wrong way, but I am learning that anyways.
The more I pray the more I’m broken for our world and the more I find myself praying to God. It’s different than what I’m reading about from these mystics, but it’s the only thing that makes sense to me.