Tuesday, August 17, 2010

God's doorway...

Prayer is largely just being silent: holding it instead of even talking it through; offering it instead of fixing it by words and ideas; loving it as it is instead of understanding it fully.

That may be impractical, but the way of faith is not the way of efficiency. Much is a matter of listening and waiting, and enjoying the expansiveness that comes from such willingness to hold. It is like carrying and growing a baby: all women do is wait and trust, and hopefully eat good food, and the baby is born.

Richard Rohr, August 2010

Rohr has said far better than I something that I'm always writing about here. True prayer doesn't consist in informing God of our, or others', problems. Do you honestly think he doesn't know unless you tell him? True prayer is still less telling God what needs to be done about these problems, and then "claiming" that solution with the magic formula, "In Jesus' name..."

Intercession is not the process I've rather unfairly derided above. The word comes from the Latin for "go between", and that is all we are asked to do or to be. We "stand in the gap" (Ezekiel 22:30) before God, on behalf of the lost and the suffering and the heartbroken, feeling what they are feeling (that is the meaning of the word "compassion") and longing with their longings. As Michael Ramsey said somewhere, "Contemplation is for all Christians... [It] means essentially our being with God, putting ourselves in his presence, being hungry and thirsty for him, wanting him, letting heart and mind move towards him; with the needs of the world on our heart."

As Rohr points out, none of this is very practical. There is nothing here to feed our appetite for getting things done. There is nothing in a woman's pregnancy to feed her, or her husband's, appetite for getting things done; yet what is accomplished is nothing less than the coming into the world of a new human being, full of all the possibilities and wonders of God's most glorious creation. Truly the power of silence and waiting is far greater than all our plans and programmes, for it is the doorway to the power of God himself...


  1. None of this *is* very practical is it?

    And yet, when you taste the delights of contemplation, what an honour to "stand in the gap". Sometimes I feel like I have done amazing, wonderful, reams of things and haven't even left my front door, and not a soul knows about it :)

  2. Absolutely, Sue! I love that hiddenness - "done amazing... things... and not a soul knows about it." YES!