Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Looking Back for Assurance and Thinking About Prayer

When I'm going through a "dry spell" (AKA wilderness experience), it's helpful to look back through my journals and be reminded of past moments when I was feeling more light. (A good reason to journal). Here's an  example:

(Journaled August 14, 2017)

Well! I had a wonderful "mini-retreat" kind of weekend ... and feel much more assured you love me, are with me, approve of me ... and are guiding me even when I don't "see" it in any emotional or "concrete" way. But on the other hand, this whole weekend has provided pretty concrete assurance You are in me, in my life.

Yes, I'd like to somehow be more "clearly Christian" and reach out to people more clearly and be surer that I'm including You in all my daily activities, but I am glad to know You are with and in me even without the "for sure, clearly."

The Flee, Be Silent, Pray book has been a great help and assurance, and I feel relieved at the thought of being able to have short devotional times a few times daily vs intensive many chapters of reading and long prayers.

I've been wondering about so many people with their "needs." I always remember hearing about that girl in India who would pray by name for 500 or 600 people every night. And great men of the church who'd pray for 4 or more hours a day on their knees in the closet or at their bedside, wearing dips right into the floor. And Susanna Wesley's prayer times with her apron over her head while her dozen kids ran around (though she did have a cook, gardener, and maids). 

We were so taught that real, great Christians prayed and prayed and prayed—until they "broke through"--though these mostly seemed to be clergymen with wives to take care of the home and family or single people without too many daily responsibilities. :-)

I've always been attracted more by Brother Lawrence's approach, which is much more related to being aware of and listening to You in all the little moments of the day (as explained in The Practice of the Presence of God). And the books I've been reading lately, like The Divine Hours and Contemplative Prayer and The Examen seem to line up with this path. I've been finding the Anglican Book of Common Prayer and Claiborne's Common Prayer helpful in this way, too.

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