Reflection Masthead
Issue 161 - Praying and Becoming - October 2017
"Knowing the One who is, anyone who prays becomes potential being
and if many do not pray it is perhaps because they are afraid to become what they are not yet: afraid to change, afraid to live, afraid to be
The saints by contrast are those brave women and men who accept the challenge 
to change as God wants, to live as God lives, to be as God is: 
those who in prayer hear and welcome God's invitation."*

*Timothy Verdon 
Art and Prayer: The Beauty of Turning to God
Paraclete / Mount Tabor Books, 2014, p. 29
Complacency in Prayer
"Lord, teach us to pray," the disciples asked Jesus long ago. And we still have trouble learning.
The words of Timothy Verdon, above, haunt me. Many prayers are prayers for things to change: the weather, the disease, the situation with a friend. Many of my prayers are also prayers for things to change, or for God to change. Verdon, however, suggests that prayer is about us changing, about opening ourselves to the presence of God so that we might be changed, so that we might fully become the person God calls us to be.
Elsewhere in his book, Verdon writes, "The primordial impulse of every prayer ... is thirst, yearning,
But do I really yearn to change, to live more richly, to truly be all that I am called to be? Or would I rather follow the same old habits and stay in the same old ruts, avoiding the pain of genuine growth and the risks of significant change? Someone has said that the opposite of love toward the other is not hatred; the opposite of love is indifference. In like manner, the opposite of faithfulness to God is not doubt; the opposite of faithfulness is complacency.
Make no mistake: we church people can be every bit as complacent as an atheist who denies the very possibility of God. And what good is our faith, if we deny the possibility that God might change us?
Yes, Lord, teach us to pray.
-  Bill
* p. 49
Reason for Prayer
       Timothy Verdon's Art & Prayer: the Beauty of Turning to God is an awe-inspiring book, both in its exquisiteness and its substance. Published by Mount Tabor Press, it virtually has the power to lift one to the heights in prayer, held aloft by the beauty of the art reflecting the glory of God. This kind of inspiration is for many, a transformative moment, a moment of turning, of one's face to God in prayer.
       For others, in spite of ardent and heartfelt prayer, darkness lingers. Storm clouds seem to hover, as one misfortune banks upon another. A person in desperation might ask, "Where are you, God?" or question whether there is a God. During a very dark time in my life - it was the mid-80's - I cried out: "God, take me out of this pain, I'll do anything." That was not a prayer of pleading. It was not a bargain. It was not a promise. It was a raw cry.
       Only as months and years passed by, did I realize that I had experienced what spiritual masters
Iona Still Life
would call a "first conversion," which sounds strange since I was raised with a strong religious faith. The more I endured the painful "turning" more and more toward the heart of God, the more I realized God was taking me out of my pain - God's grace, drop by drop onto my hardened heart. Gradually light began to pour into my soul. Prayer has become a daily practice in which I find beauty and consolation.
       The final sentence in Art & Prayer tells us of the reason for any prayer: "To see your face unveiled. At the last, beyond created beauty human beings will behold the beauty of the Creator, contemplating God in Christ Jesus. His alone is the beauty that saves the world" (p. 298). For this, I continue to strive. I hope to become. For this, I pray.
                        --by Jan

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Copyright (c) 2017 Soul Windows Ministries


Bill Howden and Jan Davis
Soul Windows Ministries



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