Prayer

prayer-6“Prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God.”                                                            –Saint Teresa of Avila (1515-1582).

Prayer is a subject that has been on the front burner of my consciousness lately. I have been more aware than usual of the need to pray every day and throughout the day. I have become motivated to pray for others with a sense of urgency.

I must admit at the outset that I have not responded to this heightened awareness with proper diligence. I have trouble with prayer. I am, by nature, an impatient person, full of impetuous energy. I have often used furious activity as a refuge from my troubles. When you’re going a hundred miles per hour, not much can stick to you. Besides, intense productivity is a great all-around balm for what ails. It improves one’s circumstances. It pushes back feelings of inadequacy. It generates its own energy and enthusiasm. The demons of loneliness and unfulfilled longing stay away. For a while. Then the time comes when there is wakefulness without anything legitimate to occupy the motion. Sometimes, aimless motion is worse than stillness.

But why is stillness so onerous for me? Am I afraid my past will catch up with me? Do I believe if it does I will be engulfed once again in its senseless gyrations of self-destruction? Not entirely. But there is something in the past that is yet unresolved. Moreover, in the stillness, especially in prayer, there is the likelihood that God will speak. Exactly why I’m not eager for this to happen, I can’t explain. 

A friend of mine once told me, “You’re afraid to become quiet and listen to the voice of God because you think you’re not going to like what you hear. But you’re going to like it a lot.”

I think he’s right. I don’t think I’m going to like what God has to say to me. For one thing, I’m afraid He’s going to impose further restrictions on my activities. He’s going to tell me to stop spending my time writing books, that I’m chasing money and vainglory. Or He’s going to tell me He’s calling me to the single life. He’s going to tell me my time and money and possessions aren’t my own, to give it all away and pour out my life for Him. I’ll end up sitting in a dusty room for 20 hours a day doing some miserable ministry, eating stale food-bank fare. Or maybe God will simply tell me I’ve forsaken the faith in the pursuit of selfish ambition, rest and leisure while neglecting service and prayer. And to some extent, that’s true. I wish I knew whether the devoted life is something that flows naturally out of relationship with God or if it’s something a person has to force himself to do out of sheer obedience. I know it’s likely to be some combination of inspiration and discipline, but how much of each is it? And how do I get those things flowing in my life more? The funny thing is, when I asked the last question in writing just now, a little voice inside me said, “Prayer.”

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About Douglas Abbott

I am a freelance writer by trade, philosopher and comedian by accident of birth. I am an assiduous observer of humanity and endlessly fascinated with people, the common elements that make us human, what motivates people and the fingerprint of God in all of us. I enjoy exploring the universe in my search for meaning, beauty and friendship. My writing is an extension of all these things and something I did for fun long before I ever got paid. My hope is that the reader will find in this portfolio a pleasing and inspiring literary hodgepodge. Good reading!
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6 Responses to Prayer

  1. That’s true bro, prayer is very important. I have trouble praying myself…just recently I asked God to help me to learn to pray “again”. Something seemed lacking…prayer is like a continual conversation with God but not all of it is you talking, but listening also. C.S. Lewis said that he thinks prayer mainly for Us, not God. By continually laying down over and over again your cares and troubles before God helps in our relationship with Him…but not just our cares and troubles but our joys and triumphs. Even Jesus prayed the same things more than once, like when he asked God to take this cup from me….but not my will but yours be done…you know that the bible says that Jesus prayed that three times. I have found that the little interactions in prayer with God gives the Holy Spirit an opening in my life to speak more to me. It may seem funny or weird but He is our support and if we ask for it even in the little things like the strength to walk across the room when you are tired, or the patience to give your full attention to someone when you don’t want to or have soo many other things on your mind. He does lend that support and our trust in Him grows through it. It takes work and it is almost like a habit…but not quite, a “habit” is a bad word for it because it is most defiantly not a “task” that we take on. but don’t forget that like any relationship listening is very important also. Love you Brother, I hope things are looking up for you. We should get together sometime when I am down in Portland again.

  2. Bob Cinnamon says:

    Great work bro…I’m of the same mind in this matter. Its easy being busy isn’t it? Even when its not, its comfortable.

  3. Anne Cliffe says:

    Yeah, Seth’s right. God isn’t like what you portrayed. He loves you above imagining remember? And he’s your dad, the kind of dad you always needed. Listen to Him, Doug!

  4. Douglas Abbott says:

    Thank you, Anne.

  5. Chris Pipa says:

    I find myself not praying even tho i know i must. I always seem to push it aside even tho in my heart i know it is wrong and the only time it seems i do pray is when something is needed but i know thats wrong when i start, so then i stop because a big feeling a guilt is over me. i do intend to pray because i want to it just it seems that i always to forget and i know its bad but it happens. and i know prayer is like having a conversation with your dad so u have to devote time for him and tell him how you are and he is willing to listen but question is am i ready also to listen.

    • Douglas Abbott says:

      I think the primary purpose of prayer is to seek and communicate with God. So even though you do it haltingly, not often enough or whether more often than not it is because of some need you are facing in your life, you’re still praying, and that’s better than not praying at all. Ask God to help you pray more often, for you to receive a revelation that will make prayer more important to you.

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