I would like to begin this area about prayer with an excerpt from one of my Spiritual Direction professor’s latest column at patheos.com. Rev’d Dr. Frederick Schmidt writes:
“Art invites us to do our own reflecting and work. Joe’s (Joe Cajero) work has provoked me to think about my own understandings of prayer and the spiritual life…here are some of the observations that I draw from his sculpture, “Embodiment of Prayer”…
One: Our lives are lived out in constant contact with both heaven and earth — the presence of God and the mundane realities of daily life. Many of the struggles that we experience in our spiritual lives arise out of a failure to honor our connection with one or the other — or both.
Two: We cannot be spiritual alone. Prayers are lifted in community. There are moments when the only prayers to say are the prayers we say on behalf of others.
Three: Prayers are not something we offer when we are in the best of places, nor are they just for moments of crisis. Nor is our spiritual growth confined to best of moments. They are thread through the whole of life, in moments of light and in moments of darkness.
Four: Prayer reminds us that we are not meant to live in careless disregard for the world around us. By the same token, we are not to be trapped by it. We are mortal, but we are made in the image of God. Prayer reminds us of our dependence upon God, but it also reminds us of our relationship with God. We almost always misunderstand and misuse that gift when we forget one or the other dimensions of the lives we have been given.
Five: Prayer is not an activity. It is a state of being. We were not meant to pray, but to become a prayer. We are not just meant to say prayers, we are meant to embody a life of prayer.”
Rev’d Dr. Frederick W. Schmidt
Prayer is so personal. Each person’s prayer life will be different. For me there are several key elements to a fulfilling, life-giving, spiritual-depth producing life of prayer. They include:
- finding forms of prayer that are meaningful and practicing them
- consistent prayer practice over a long period of time
- approaching prayer with a heart that is open to the work of the Holy Spirit
- realizing that prayer is not an end in and of itself. Rather it is a means of spiritual growth that fosters an active faith that is taken to and lived out in the world.
Types of prayer include…
As Fred says so eloquently…our entire life can become the embodiment of prayer.
When that happens, we have truly consecrated the day!
Blessings friends on the journey!