Monday, May 30, 2011

On Prayer

...I think it is safe to say that no one can be a disciple for long without an active prayer life. What the Lord derides in this section boils down to hypocrisy. Praying in an exaggerated fashion so that others will notice and be amazed by the piety is not praying at all. Praying in a yada-yada fashion, running on and on, won’t cut it either. What is going on on the inside is what matters.

Prayer is relational and some of the best praying is done completely without words. Silence is necessary. So is openness. What happens when we pray? What are we doing? We stand in the quiet of our interior life and recognize the emptiness. We wait and God fills the void. I remember a story alleged to be about Matt Talbot. Talbot was a recovering alcoholic. Late in his life he used to spend long hours in his parish church. Supposedly, after observing him for some time, someone asked Talbot what he found to pray about all that time. He is said to have replied, “Oh, I just look at him, and he looks at me.” It is through contemplative prayer that the one praying comes to know God’s love and is able to “express” his love for God. Words are not required...