A wise man once told me, "God offers us no minimum protection, and a maximum of support. God comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble, with the same comfort we ourselves have received from God."
This sounded great, until it dawned on me that God and I seemed to be strangers ---- at least in my perception. I needed to get to "know" who God is, and then be sure I could position myself in the stream of God's love and power. I needed to meditate on how God must already feel about me, perhaps by beginning to pray to God on a regular basis!
The best advice I had received about prayer, was that it is the process of becoming available for what God wants to do on earth through us. So, let's talk about prayer!
Prayer was not new to me, but people often used such abstract language to discuss it, I sometimes felt lost. Then, I came upon the following explanation:
"There are only four basic prayers:
Gimme! Thanks! Oops! and Wow!
"Wow!" are prayers of praise and wonder at the Creation.
"Oops!" is asking for forgiveness.
"Gimme!" is a request or a petition for something from God which is beyond
"Thanks!" is expressing gratitude for some good thing we attribute to God.
For adults like me, who wanted to learn to pray, it was recommended that we start with prayers of "thanks". Everybody has something to be grateful for.
But, we were warned that just practicing the "four basic prayers" would become tiresome and shallow before long. We were told to use Bible passages for meditation, to spend time in focused meditation, and most importantly to do this on a regular and frequent basis, undisturbed. The idea was to gradually enter into a dialogue with God, perhaps as facilitated by the Holy Spirit, through my deeper relationship with Scripture.
I gave this a try! At first I had trouble doing it on a regular basis, until I fixed on a particular time of day when I had the tasks of the day behind me and I could take a little time to think and feel, freely. With practice, this kind of meditation became easier and eventually a necessary habit.
I still believe there are four basic kinds of prayers, but now I feel I know much more about myself, and what God expects from me. It is always a source of joy when I feel I am coming closer and closer to understanding what God wants.
These thoughts are brought to you by the CPC Adult Spiritual Development Team, seeking some spiritual growth for you this fall.