Sometimes all we have are groans too deep for words. Sometimes all we have are the cries of our moment cast into the upward horizon of the One who listens for us, and who sounds us in a depth beyond our knowing.
Despite our limited knowing or because of it, to grow in prayer is to grow in a humility that would release us to be more honest with ourselves and with our God.
Prayer therefore is the expression of our new native language to speak with the One who Listens. And though we may learn to pray by praying, we mature in prayer by praying with others. I have several friends who have been willing to share their experience of prayer with all its joy and anguish. Here is one friend’s response:
“A while ago you asked me about writing about prayer, and I had nothing – mostly because my prayer life these days is often silent, with centring prayer being the core, with an occasional word or two coming to mind, sometimes before, sometimes after.
[This is] the closest I can get to putting something on paper. It was written over three consecutive days spent running to and sitting by the ocean.”
Here is the 1st of Three Days of Prayer by Kathy Sperling:
I am alone on a vast beach
But not at all!
How can I be when the waves bellow
And the sun kisses my forehead
The soft sand parts and embraces my every step
And the birds,
Calling, calling, calling out
You are not alone!
Not only that
Every single one declares:
I am here, solid.
You can trust me.
Even the waves do not move me.
This hospitality is almost more than I can bear –
I thought I was alone!
I am invited into this deep communion
With limitless capacity
To envelop me in its embrace
And I weep.
It overwhelms me with its generosity
Yet deeply personal and present.
It is on my skin
In my eyes, my hair
Between my toes
And the water!
Enters every bend and intimate crevice
It is wet
And so am I.
Kathy Sperling, August 2015