Tossing up a Hail Mary
I don't pray all that well. And certainly not often enough. Most of my prayers are requests for me or for someone else or for some thing. Of course, there are worse things to focus my mind on, but I don't spend enough time just being with God. I won't bore you with my lame excuses.
Don't get me wrong -- I believe in the power of asking God for things and for things to happen. In just the last 7 days, I've seen prayers answered in my family and at the Halftime Institute that are unmistakably movements of God's spirit and power. I've been around the block enough to know the difference between coincidence and God deciding that a certain petition is within His will and therefore He grants it.
But I'm talking about a different kind of prayer. A type and quality and essence of prayer that I think pleases God and certainly pleases me when I have brief moments "in the zone."
Let me close this blog by quoting Henri Nouwen who best describes what I can't articlulate about this type of prayer. Enjoy.
"Why should I spend an hour in prayer when I do nothing during that time but think of people I am angry with, people who are angry with me, books I should read and books I should write, and thousands of other silly things things that happen to grab my mind for a moment?
The answer is: because God is greater than my mind and my heart, and what is really happening in the house of prayer is not measurable in terms of human success and failure.
What I must do first of all is be faithful. If I believe that the first commandment is to love God with my whole heart, mind, and soul, then I should at least be able to spend one hour a day with nobody else but God. The question as to whether it is helpful, useful, practical or fruitful is completely irrelevant, since the only reason to love is love itself. Everything else is secondary.
The remarkable thing, however, is that sitting in the presence of God for one hour each morning -- day after day, week after week, month after month -- in total confusion and with myriad distractions radically changes my life. God, who loves me so much that He sent his only son not to condemn me but to save me, does not leave me waiting in the dark too long. I might think that each hour is useless, but after thirty, sixty, or ninety such useless hours, I gradually realize I was not as alone as I thought; a very small, gentle voice has been speaking to me far beyond my noisy place. So: Be confident and trust in the Lord."
Henri Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak