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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