Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A different kind of prayer

"What seem our worst prayers may really be, in God's eyes, our best. Those, I mean, which are least supported by devotional feeling. For these may come from a deeper level than feeling. God sometimes seems to speak to us most intimately when he catches us, as it were, off our guard."
(C. S. Lewis, as quoted in James B. Simpson, Simpson's Contemporary Quotations [USA: Houghton Mifflin, 1988], p.191)

"The event of prayer, certain acts called prayer, the very word ‘prayer’ have gathered such ridiculous associations... When I write that my own situation [during my illness] in those months of pain and decision can be described as prayer, I do not only recall that during that time I sometimes read the Psalms and they became my psalms, or that, as I have also mentioned, I occasionally cried ‘Jesus’ and that name was my prayer, but I mean that I also at times would shout ‘Fuck!’ and that was no obscenity, but a most earnest prayerful utterance."
(William Stringfellow, A Second Birthday: A Personal Confrontation with Illness, Pain, and Death [USA: Wipf and Stock, 2005], p.99, 108-109)

How do you pray? Somehow like this, "Oh Father God... thank you, Father God... Father God... Holy and almighty Father God... Father God who provides abundantly... in the most holy and precious name of Jesus Christ. Amen"? As if talking to the Father Christmas who dressed in red snowsuit. Or, when overdoing it, it seems as if God needs us to remind God that God is holy and almighty and that the name of Jesus is holy and precious. Obscenely fictional.

Well, that is not the only or the best way.

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