Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Midweek Meditation: "What to do when Praying?" (Sister Wendy)

A Quote from Sister Wendy on Prayer

It is one of the most frequently asked questions: What should I do during prayer? How eagerly people long to be told the answer! For that would make me safe, well protected: I would know what to do! But the answer is of the usual appalling simplicity: stand before God unprotected, and you will know yourself what to do. I mean this in utter earnest. Methods are of value, naturally, but only as something to do "if I want to," which in this context of response to God means "if He wants me to." I may feel drawn to meditate, to sing to Him, or to stay before Him in, say, an attitude of contrition or praise.

But we cannot say prayers at all unless we know also the prayer of silence. In silent prayer, there are no words and hence no thoughts. We are still. This silence is nothing to be afraid of. Five or ten minutes, whatever can be spared. You are just there to stand in His presence and let Him take possession of you.

Whether you are aware of that presence does not matter. God is there, whatever your feelings, just as Jesus knew God was there even when He felt abandoned on the cross. What pure praise of the Father's love; to feel abandoned and yet stay content before Him, saying, "Father, into your hands . . . " We cannot sufficiently emphasize to ourselves that prayer is God's concern, and His one desire is "to come and make His abode with us." Do we believe Him or not? Of course, I can cheat. If I choose not to be there for Him (and since I am not yet transformed into Jesus, to some extent I always do protect myself against the impact of His love), then that is cause for grief. But it is creative grief. It drives us helpless to Jesus to be healed. We say to Him: "If you want, you can make me clean." But He answers, "I do want to --- but do you?" That wanting is ever the crux of the matter.

(Sister Wendy Beckett, Sister Wendy on Prayer, NY: Harmony Books, 2006, p43-45)

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