Saturday, March 28, 2009

Winter Grace here in springtime -

Revisiting a favorite study book Winter Grace again this morning during and after my prayer time, I came upon this quote about prayer - p. 35 -

"We cannot judge the value of our prayer by how we feel during it. If we open ourselves to a relationship with God, it will affect all our life."

Author Kathleen Fischer goes on to say, "Noises and concerns, what we sometimes call distractions, are simply reminders that we never pray for ourselves alone. We can lift persons and concerns to God as they come into our awareness. We may think that prayer means setting aside all else in order to think only about God; thoughts or feelings that are not pious or religious are distractions. However, prayer is a loving relationship with God that catches up all of life, not just a part of it. God is even more concerned than we are with every aspect of our lives: relationships with our families, new friendships, financial worries, physical pain."

I studied this book with a spiritual formation group that gathers weekly for prayer and discussion. We felt so strongly about the author's words that we spent quite a long while on a 200 page book. I find that personally I have internalized much of this book and no clearer is that to me than in my morning prayers. I am able to center and meditate for a short period of time but the majority of the prayer time is just silent surrender to those prayers for persons, the world, our community, my church, my children and grandchildren, my spouse, myself - in other words the seeming distractions that I bring consciously or unconsciously before God.

Are you able to block out the world in your prayer time? Totally focused? Somewhat distracted? Frustrated? Are you comfortable with Ms. Fischer's words about distraction and is the idea a new one to you or one with which you feel comfortable?

Photo - SS Enhanced Monoprint/Fall 2008


  1. if someone or something pops into my mind (i.e. distracts) me during prayer time, i consider they are popping in for a reason. one way i try to get clear of the crazy distractions is to do my morning pages (stream of conscious journaling). it helps get rid of those pesky to do lists that i feel take me away from the real conversation with God.

    the distractions of which you speak, are perfect fodder for prayer - imo. xoxoox

  2. I don't actually have a set-aside prayer time any more. My method of praying has sort of splattered itself out through my day. I have a meditation time in the morning where I get quiet enough to possibly be able to hear from God and to be able to pray in the first place :) Then throughout the day, as people or thoughts or ideas or emotions come to mind, I just talk to God about it. It feels more natural to me personally this way.

  3. Lucy, The tip about writing prior to prayer is a good one that I forget to use.....but of course, it has to be hand-written because if the computer comes on then I'm doomed to the devil of total distraction! But, again reminding me of the handwritten brain drain does help to clear my mind for more focused prayer. Then whomever or whatever drops by, drops by!

    Sue, I like the praying throughout the day and remembering to send up prayers as I'm involved with others or in places that might not be so much fun. The set-aside time really does work well for me and Lucy got me into the lighting of candles during that time and again, it works for me bringing a start and stop with the lighting and extinguishing.

    Thanks again ladies - loved your comments!

  4. SS knows how important my time of morning meditation and prayer is to me, and I love the words of Kathleen Fischer because the echo what I have tried to teach about prayer, often with very ineffective words.