It seems most prayer has become a visit to SantaGod. Give me, I need, We want, Show us …
What if prayer was an individual or communal practice of tuning ourselves to the heart of the Divine? What if we didn’t start with a cursory, “Yea, God,” and then move quickly to our shopping list? What if we simply sat in silence, holding the thought/feeling/idea of the Source of All in our hearts/minds/bodies and said nothing?
Prayer can also be movement, or singing, or chanting, or breathing alone or together.
We have the examples of mystics throughout the ages and from around the world who assure us that prayer is worth the time and effort even if we experience nothing since there is nothing we can do to curry favor and gain results … all come to be by grace, by the working of the One within and without us in Divine time, not ours. Because of this, is it not better to continue to seek to improve our heart/soul/mind connection with the ongoing practice of prayer even if the, “answer to prayer,” is no, or later, or even silence?
For most people, religious or spiritual practices are what they turn to when they have no other idea of what to do. For the first Christians, the practice of prayer was their first, not last refuge. And, for many of every faith tradition it is this that makes prayer alive and vibrant. We may do well to model what it means to turn to prayer first instead of last and what it means when prayer is not a shopping list, but a time of communion, community, quieting, tuning into the song of the Universe, and in that way making even regularly scheduled prayer meetings a time of greening, abundant joy and not dry obligation or repetition.