Saturday, 4 April 2009

Prayer

Personal prayer was defined in the old ‘Penny Catechism’ as “the raising of the heart and mind to God.” Not a bad definition, but not brilliant either.

  • First of all it seems to suggest an orientation in relationship, namely that the person praying is in one ‘place’ and they have to raise their heart and mind to God who is in another ‘place.’ Surely, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, God already lives in our mind and in our heart as well as all the other places ‘out there’.
  • By using the word ‘raising,’ it is suggesting God is ‘up’ or ‘out’ there somewhere and we have to go to God, thereby implying we have to do the work of praying. St Paul has written that “…the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words” (Romans 8:26). Here God initiates prayer.
  • St Augustine said “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” A modern spiritual writer has suggested the following turn of the phrase is worth thinking about – “God’s heart is restless until it rests in you.”

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