We must know that God regards our purity of heart and tears of compunction, not our many words.Prayer should therefore be short and pure… (RB 20.3-4a)
Prayer is individual because, of its essence, it is relationship between God and the individual, but it also draws us into communal prayer, representing all of creation calling forth in one united voice on the God who loved us into existence.Prayer is talking to God, but it is also listening to God. It often involves words, but prayer needs moments of silence and sacred pauses.Prayer is a willingness to be interrupted in the moment to stop what we are doing and notice God’s presence. It is the sound of the bells inviting us to remember, during the hectic pace of the day, for Whom we work and why.When Jesus was teaching His disciples how to pray, He taught them by His own example as well as by instructing them in specific aspects:“…do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them …. when you pray, go to your inner room…” (Matt. 6:5-6)“…do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words….Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matt. 6:7-8)“…ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9)“…do not worry about your life and what you will eat, or about your body and what you will wear…Instead, seek his kingdom and these other things will be given you besides…” (Luke 12:22,31)When walking through a garden in the late afternoon of a hot summer day, I saw these lilies leaning in toward the sunlight. Had I come at another time of the day, when the summer sun was in a different position, they might have been leaning another way.
The lilies can teach us profound lessons about prayer. Our very being is prayer; the prayer God desires is one that comes from the heart; and when we feel we cannot pray, just keep your gaze on and lean into the Light.“Notice how the flowers grow…” (Luke 12:27)
Sister Ann Marie Wainright
Sister Ann Marie Wainright is a Benedictine Sister of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota. Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, she worked as a CPA for many years before earning dual masters degrees in counseling and pastoral studies. Sister Ann Marie is interested how people encounter God in their daily lives and how they use their faith and spirituality in meeting difficult challenges.See all of Sister Ann Marie’s blogs.