Get Serious About Prayer

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That's what I say to myself. Stop the endless fragmented, half-hearted, attempts at prayer and get serious.

Getting serious is, of course, only possible through the grace God gives me. I can't will myself to be serious about prayer, although I can conform my will to His desire for me to be serious about prayer. I can start doing things that would lead me deeper into a life of prayer.

"Such as?" I ask myself. (And I note, lest I be accused of semi-pelagianism, that even these things must start with, be fostered by, and culminate in Grace.)

Fostering an environment, internal and external, for prayer.

(1) The external is less important except as it eventually can help shape the interior space, but I must follow the chain of grace into the life of real prayer. I must fill the space with light from the wisdom of the Saints and from the scriptures. I must take off the shutters that I have long used to deny access to the delicate archive of false self. Let the strong rays burn away what is not of God.

(2) Controlling frivolous and detrimental speech. Too many words water down whatever there is of importance, even when these words are not directly involved in the action. More, overuse of words weakens their essential power to move us. And still more, we tend to start believing what we speak--it is part of the power of the words. That is why Jesus tells us that it is what comes out of a person that makes him or her unclean. When I speak ill of another, I begin to believe what I say and I condemn myself thought lack of charity. The fullness of my heart overflows into my words. So rather than speak every idle thought that enters my head, perhaps a span of time should be placed in front of whatever response I am to make, and in that short span, I should really search my heart for the Gem that I know lies under the ash and allow it to shine forth in whatever words I must use.

(3) Removal of all those things that keep me away from God in whatever way. And by removal, I don't mean mere physical disposal of these things, but true attention once more to God's grace and His call. I've already seen how mere will-power can be utterly ineffectual in weeding out those things that lead us astray. Only grace can allow us to leave all for All. However, grace doesn't work by itself. I mustn't lapse into quietism. My will and my desire is required. Without my consent, grace, unless prevenient is utterly ineffectual. God will not force me to Love, but He is constantly inviting me.

Getting serious about prayer is getting serious about the one thing that matters and the one thing that has any potential to help me and the world around me. So, why do I continue to waste valuable time?

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You read my mind ... I begin this again and again and again. Which I did just again this morning. *sigh*



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on April 20, 2006 12:58 PM.

Growing with and toward the Church was the previous entry in this blog.

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