Thought For The Week
'Deep prayer doesn't come easy for us. Why? We struggle to make time for prayer. Prayer doesn't accomplish anything practical for us, it's a waste of time in terms of tending to the pressures and tasks of daily life and so we hesitate to go there' ~Ron Rolheiser
I like the above quotation because it is such an honest reflection on prayer. We hesitate with prayer because we feel we are out of our depth. We find it difficult to concentrate when we make the effort. We are often overwhelmed with distractions. We then lack the confidence to make some time for prayer. My experience working with young people is that they have little experience of what prayer is or what it might be about. But they have an incredible openness to prayer, to trying it, going with prayer time, respecting the quiet space and exploring the possibility of trying it themselves too. Prayer is best described as taking time out and connecting with the presence or energy of God all around us. But what might this mean?
The presence or energy of God is often felt strongly in a church or during Mass or some liturgical celebration. But not everyone feels it this way. Some feel the presence or energy of God in the beauty of nature, in the colour of their garden, in a walk outdoors, listening to their favourite music, a personal interest and hobby that brings calm and peace or just sitting quietly in your favourite spot. For a long time we were stuck in our ways with prayer. Through no fault of our own we were told to just say formal prayers and were not encouraged to explore other forms of prayer. The most important thing is to explore prayer and what might work for you. If you find prayer a struggle, you are not on your own.
In our Gospels it is Jesus who is the inspiration for all of us who struggle with prayer. We find Jesus praying in nearly every kind of situation, in the happy and sad occasions, in tragedies and in setbacks. We find him praying as he went about his daily work, we find him praying with others and praying on his own, sometimes going off to a quiet spot where no one could find him. Most often he prayed in the ordinary down to earth moments that made up his life. The disciples were most impressed. They knew he was uniquely special. He was unlike anybody else they ever knew. They knew that he drew his energy, motivation and drive from a power outside of this world. They saw him do this when he prayed and their natural reaction was 'Lord, teach us to pray'. It is our reaction too. We want to do the same. We can do it by praying in a way that suits us and works for us. The biggest trap is to make comparisons. The biggest mistake is looking for perfection. The best place to start is today and even a little is more than enough.
Thought For The Week is updated each Monday with a new photograph each day