Prayer: Paying Attention to What is Already There
Dear Friends,

This is it! We are about to plunge into the demands of “life after summer.” As we face the need for making choices about how we use our time, start to manage the various agendas and myriad details of our lives, it is especially important to keep God at the center. Now is not the moment to let go of our life of prayer and lose our loving connection with our source of life.

It is not unusual to find prayer difficult. Michel Quoist writes,

We often say to ourselves:
I ought to pray, I have a need to pray.
I want to pray but I simply don’t know how.
I would like to pray but I don’t have the time.
I wish I could pray more, but I find prayer boring.
I don’t have the courage.

When we surround the need for relationship with God with anxiety - I ought, I want, I would like, I wish, I don’t - we have only to remember that God is already close to us. Praying is largely a matter of intentionality, of becoming more aware of what is going on in and around us. A thoughtful, God-turned heart soon becomes attuned to the presence of divine love. God is encountered at every turn. Prayer is about paying attention.

Our relationship with God is not something we can force. It comes to us as pure gift. Like romantic love, we cannot “make it happen.” We can, however, turn our desire for God towards God. We don’t have to be “good at prayer” to speak. There is a prayer for morning written by Saint Philaret, Metropolitan of Moscow that captures both our need and the certainty of God’s willingness to come close.

“O Lord, grant me to greet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely upon Your holy will. In every hour of the day reveal Your will to me. Bless my dealings with all who surround me. Teach me to treat all that comes to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words, guide my thoughts and feelings. In unforeseen events let me not forget that all are sent by You. Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring. Direct my will, teach me to pray. Pray You Yourself in me.”


The Reverend Susan N. Eaves
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