Prayer Time

We have Bro Duncan PBGV to thank for this morning’s reflection. He has noticed that he gets to his food-bowl very quickly but it takes him much longer to get to his medicine. The kibble goes down in an instant but the anti-Cushings pill . . . that takes a while longer. To a dispassionate observer both actions probably occupy the same amount of time but his sense of them varies. It is exactly the same with us and prayer.

We can think we have  been on our knees for ever, then discover that barely five minutes have passed; conversely, we settle down to pray and are amazed to hear the clock strike the hour — though, if praying on a summer afternoon, one oughtn’t to assume one has been experiencing the Prayer of Union, it is much more likely to have been the Prayer of Gentle Drift.

Again, one sometimes hears people talking about what a great prayer-time they’ve just had or how full of the Spirit they’ve been. My cynical self wants to ask whether they are speaking for themselves or on behalf of God. How did God view that time we spent on our knees or sitting quietly in a chair? I may be quite wrong, but I have a hunch that God isn’t very interested in whether we’ve had a great ‘prayer experience’ or whatever. To him those times when we have almost to pin ourselves down and count every moment, when we feel an absolute fraud and failure as we chase after every distraction in the universe, are just as wonderful as those times when we seem to lose ourselves in him. What matters is the intention of our heart.

It is useful to remember that the two brothers of the Parable of the Prodigal Son are equally dear to their father and equally close, though one is a grumpy, doing-my-duty-and-what-thanks-do-I-get kind of fellow, and the other is a wastrel who comes to his senses very late in the day. The father sees and understands, just as our Heavenly Father sees and understands. The important thing is that we try to pray and go on doing so. Be encouraged.

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6 thoughts on “Prayer Time”

  1. Thank you for this morning’s reflection, Dame Catherine. I can identify very much with what you have said regarding my own prayer time.
    Welcome back after your Retreat!

  2. Excellent commentary on how much longer that it takes to take medicine than say, a cup of tea or coffee. I have to take daily medication via tablets for three different conditions, in three different ways. Trying to coordinate tablet taking with prayer is simple morning and evening as It coincides with the respective morning and evening prayer phases. It’s the bit in the middle that’s awkward both for medicine and prayer, invariably I’m doing something, going somewhere or just suffering the regular procrastination which seems to afflict me.

    I’m waiting for the time that they can just place an implant in that can be topped up weekly and release the medication when necessary. Preferably at meal times as some needs to be taken with food.

    Now, I wonder if there’s an implant to help with the mid-day prayer?

  3. Suki the greyhound would confirm Bro Duncan’s findings. The same length of walk takes *hours* in the rain but is over far too quickly on a beautiful blue-sky sunny day! I’m always ‘falling off the wagon’ in my prayers…what else is there to do but say sorry, get back up and try again? I’m a yoyo in that respect…thank heavens for a patient, loving God!

  4. Wise words this morning as always, surprised to see your blog post as I thought you had declared a holiday! Anyway I am delighted to have you back in my daily life it is a highlight of my day to read your posts.

  5. Pingback: » Prayer Time

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