Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Prayer and the Other Chair

A suggestion I once heard to help us with the element of "presence" in our prayer was to place another chair with ours as we begin our time of prayer. We are not alone when we pray; "... And remember, I am with you each and every day until the end of the age." Mtt. 28:20

Image if a friend comes into the room where you are sitting and you act as if he is far away. You take out some letters he wrote to you and you start reading them over again, wishing you could asks him about what he meant by this or that.

Ask Him, he is sitting right there in front of you!

Prayer is not a question of, 'is the Lord with you or not', rather it is how are you responding to his presence. So you might take up one of the gospels and read a section and then ask, "... Lord, what did you mean when you said ...?" Now you listen to his response, because he is right there with you.

When two persons come together, each is responsible for their own conduct, their own response to the dynamics created by their being together. These dynamics include: a time and place to meet, a conducive setting, where to sit, greeting, agenda, speaking/listening - remembering all the while, that you control only do your part, they control theirs.

Now you might question how this works when you neither see him nor hear his voice; where is there something tangible so I can know it's more than just my imagination at work?

There is more to presence and communication than merely seeing and hearing. Consider this, you have a dear friend that you visit frequently and your friend is unable to see or hear. You enter his room, and even though he does not see you or hear you, he begins to speak your name. You touch his arm in confirmation and he touches your hand in reply. How did that person know it was you?

Often, when I was called to the bedside of a seriously ill person in the hospital, who has been restless and agitated, and even though they are not perceptibly conscious, as soon as I entered the room with the sacraments, they would begin to be calm. Nurses often remarked how this has taken place. 

There is more to communication than the optic and auditory nerves of the human body. True you could experience an apparition, as some saints have, but that would be extraordinary. The Lord starts us off in a much simpler way - with a gentle touch to our inner self. 

So we have settled the question, "... is the Lord present..." - yes, he is always present when we seek him. Now we must learn how to  identify that gentle touch, the various  ways the Lord makes his presence known, how we are to hear his voice in a new way, beyond our ears. Some call this prayer experience the Prayer of Contemplation
Suppose you decide to take up flying an airplane. There are two important and essential things you will need; an airplane and an instructor. For the Prayer of Contemplation these two essentials are, a Prayer-time, and the Lord's instruction. There are many helpful resources on how to pray, but in the end we must climb aboard with our instructor in the next seat and start flying.

Praying On A Passage Of Scripture [... Link...]


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