Contemplative Prayer Eludes Me
Tom Drake, Johannesburg – Contemplative prayer has interested me for many years, but I must say, I cannot consider I have achieved the communication with God that was promised.
I have tried for years, I have concentrated until my eyeballs ached; nothing meaningful has occurred. It’s not that the exercise is not beneficial, I’m sure it is, but the promised connection just doesn’t come.
This morning I had what I hope is an illuminating moment: perhaps I’m trying too hard! Perhaps the activity is not required to be by me — perhaps I should open my mind, and let God do the work. In that overdone phrase, “Let go and let God.”
I’m so busy in my efforts that my mind becomes closed to anything else. Experts advise us to avoid thoughts of projects or plans — to wait for the Lord to speak. But if I wait for him, what do I expect to hear?
Are the thoughts that I have considered intrusions perhaps messages for my consideration, or do I expect a spectral voice to direct my path?
It’s almost like the little old lady trapped on her rooftop in a flood, refusing help from lifeboats and helicopters, confident in the hope that her prayers would be answered by the Lord. She just didn’t recognise his intervention when it came!
What do I expect? Should my thoughts be directed towards the Lord, can I not expect the results to be of value? Am I attempting to rid myself of exactly what is being given to me?
Let’s try again.