Unlikely Thoughts on Prayer

Still at it. Still trying to wrap my mind around the concept of prayer (yes, confession: still trying to write my next chapter). Not that I haven't prayed for a lifetime already. Not that I don't know the basics. Not...

Well, that's just it. I'm stuck this morning, in a trembling state... on what it is I can not say about prayer. And by that, I don't mean that I have nothing to say. I mean that what I have to say might cause someone to choke on her morning coffee.

Here's the thing. It's. I'm. Okay, out with it... I'm thinking about prayer as sex (not sex as prayer, which could also be argued I suppose). I'm thinking about how so much of our prayer and instruction on prayer is like (don't choke, okay, I'm warning you up front) porn. I don't mention that word to be graphic or sensational and definitely not to be condemning for those who've developed a habit in that direction (there's enough of all three in the world to go 'round, it's just not my way, and it's not my point).

In other words, prayer is too often Insert Tab A into Slot B for Response C. It probably works on some level. It's definitely a reach for connection. And it's a little like painting by number. We put the hot-red paint on the number 1's and the passion-blue paint on the number 5's, and so on. And in the end we've got our velvet Elvis. There he is, charmer on black. Flat and fuzz-muted. No one can argue that we haven't captured him at least in some small way. It's a matter of spectrum.

And now I'm gulping about the task ahead of me this morning. I'm going to take the plunge and try to write this chapter using this angle. It's going to mean an unorthodox dip into Song of Songs. I'm not too pleased about it, to be honest with you. Except that I think it's the way to go. This is the call of the writer: to follow the trail set before him/her. God, give me courage and sensitivity and the will to go all the way.

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Found this quote from Scott Russell Sanders in Landscapes of the Soul: A Spirituality of Place (by Robert Hamma)...

Thawing dirt also breaks the grip of winter in me. The promise of new life in that loamy smell gives me courage to ask questions that I have been afraid to ask.

Maybe that is one reason I came out here. To smell Fall and Winter, to feel Spring on the air and my taste buds, to find courage in the shadows of the pine and questions new-dangling from silken lines of spiders' webs...

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How to Pray

Reading, musing, struggling about prayer. Need to understand, articulate something (writing a book on spiritual practice demands it.)

Prayer. From the same Latin word that we get our English word precarious. Risky. Dangerous. Hazardous. Uncertain. How to write about such an unpredictable, uncontrollable, uneasy alliance/reaching/groaning/hoping towards You?

Sybil MacBeth suggests Praying in Color. Doodling before You. I like that. Drawing, doodling, too are risky, unpredictable. Where will the pen take me, what will it outline. Will I stand back and find Your face in my scratchings, or simply sense Your yes over my shoulder as You watch me move? Will you write me a love note on the corner of the page?

How to pray. Put Your color to my soul, energize my wrist and fingers, scribble through me...

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I went
for grace
on the back
porch, found
it moldering
green, licking
slow biting
the base
of a terra
cotta pot.

This post is offered for the Searching for Grace writing project.

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