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