Prayer is a two-way process. We are making something of the Mystery of God in our prayer and prayer is making something of the Mystery of God in us. At least, this is what can happen when it is ‘true’ prayer, remembering Ken Leech’s phrase, prayer that is truly open and radical, taking risks, allowing the Mystery we call God to impact us, our preconceptions and prejudices, our emotions and energies.
It’s time to write as honestly and openly as I can about my prayer life as I promised in a recent blog. In the blog I mentioned that I have ideas about how to begin worship in ways that can take people into their bodies, help them ground themselves and connect with their feelings. The ability to become more aware of our bodies, to be grounded and connected with our feelings is for me equally essential when it comes to my personal prayer life. Nurturing interior body awareness has helped me to deepen my confidence that I really am created in the image of God and that God dwells in the core of my being as much as I dwell in the beauty of God’s creation.
What were the millions of Anglicans praying for during the Primates’ meeting? Were they neutrally praying supportively for the well-being of those present? Were they praying for unity above all things? Were they praying for the Primates to be infused with the love of Jesus the Christ? Were they praying for an in-breaking of the Holy Spirit? Were they praying for a radical comment to love, truth and justice? Were they praying for an end to the caricature and prejudice that can lead to violent persecution and genocide and the cessation of simplistic criticism and ridicule by the Primates that leads inexorably to the dehumanising and degrading treatment of others?
I’ve compiled a list of the key essentials for the contemplative life which keep coming to me when I meditate. Elements that are important to me are usually missing from other people’s writings. These include the importance of the body (implicit in the incarnation) and of emotional and physical experience, and the importance of actively teaching people how to become aware of their intuitive contemplative self and nurture that self in ways that are so simple that people find it difficult to believe they really work – until they try.