Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Pray in the spirit

Pray … as you can

Image result for prayerI find it easier to communicate when I face the person to whom I’m talking. That way, I can direct my voice toward them and observe the expressions on their face as we speak. I can also see to what extent my message is understood and if I need to say more or stop and listen.
    In the same way, it’s a good idea to look toward God when we pray. The Scriptures say that God is a Spirit, so we need a form of prayer that is spirit-led. During times of prayer, we direct our prayers toward God rather than into some vague space we might call ‘Heaven’. That’s why St Paul tells his disciples to ‘Pray in the Spirit’.
    When first learning how to pray in this way, it can be useful to consciously think of God or a picture of something that (for us) helps to represent God. We then direct our prayers to that image.
    This practice will probably feel artificial at first. Nevertheless, when this sort of praying seems a little less self-conscious, it generally helps if we next ask God to suggest a better image or picture. We hone the picture because our image of God is too small or immature. He will improve it make it more realistic.
    God is a spirit so the best images of God are not so much pictorial as representing God. For that reason, it’s not uncommon for God to gently lead us beyond images and introduce us to concepts. For example, he may ask us to use a single word such as ‘God’, ‘love’ or ‘spirit’.
    And do not be surprised when God asks you to dispense with images altogether. We still direct our prayers to God, but the sheer inadequacy of a pictorial approach actually gets in the way of praying.

When we intend to pray for goodness, let all our thought and
desire be contained in the one small word ‘God’. Nothing else and no other words are needed, for God is the epitome of all goodness. Immerse yourself in the spiritual reality it speaks
of yet without precise ideas of God’s works whether small
or great, spiritual or material.
The Cloud of Unknowing

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