Tuesday, August 04, 2009

About Prayer

"But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly." --Matthew 6:6

In my parent's home there is this verse on a plaque somewhere. I remember reading the NIV version of it so often that I had it memorized. This verse is one of the reasons I don't blog very often about prayer.

But tonight I'm going to blog about prayer because it's an area where I've fallen flat on my face. For some reason, very likely because I'm a rather carnal person and God is stripping away all my delusions because I asked him to, after Pascha my prayer rule really fizzled out.

I'm talking FIZZLE fizzled. And then when the school year ended, I did not have that routine of starting our school day with morning prayers to keep me going, and wham, there I've been, on my face in this area all summer long.

Because pride goes before the fall and I think lots of what I was doing was just a prideful puffed up routine in which I was rather happy and impressed with myself about how spiritual I was being.

TIIIIIMMMMM-BEEEEER! and she comes crashing down. I'm not at all like my patron saint.

Thank God. Really. Thank God! Not for being unlike my very holy patron saint, but rather that I came crashing down. Because if what I'd been doing had really been something real instead of something pride based (and I'm not saying there never was a genuine prayer uttered by me, just that much of it was puffy and vain), it would have lasted.

I'm reminded of that verse in 1 Cor. 3:
12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

But I do want to pray and I want to want to pray. And there's a seed of softness in my heart towards God that I want to nurture and cultivate. So here I am, writing about it, because if ever I've been given a gift by heaven it's the gift of telling it like it is so that everyone else who is just like me can either be comforted, challenged, or both.

So, I must set about rebuilding a prayer rule. And it needs to be genuine and real. This can only be done by God's grace and with a large dose of humility on my part. Pray for this sinner. I always see the beauty of piety in others, but when it comes to myself, I so often fall away in a fit of "I don't want to be a dork, God."

3 comments:

elizabeth said...

I understand all of this. I am comforted often by the Saint (I think one of the Optina Fathers) who said let the dryness of your prayers be food for your humility.

I can only pray that I can at least learn a little humility admist the struggle.

You are on my prayer list and also on the list I will give for the moleben for healing that my church will have tomorrow DV.

My love to you this evening.

Amber said...

I'm not certain what I do can be considered a prayer rule, because it's so tiny and basic, but I fail at that lately anyway, so I'm clearly not ready for anything more invovled. :)

That being said, it's something that I feel I need. I find it too easy to forget in the middle of my life, and I don't have half the things going on that you do.

So, if the prayers of a kid stumbling along help, you can be sure you've got mine. :)

Anonymous said...

I relate entirely. I could have written that post.