‘Lord, Teach Us to Pray’

ImageThis is Spider Rock in Canyon de Chelly in Arizona. Rising some 750 feet from the canyon floor, they remind me of two arms outstretched in fervent prayers. In the midst of all the magnificent beauty and grandeur surrounding me, I am awed, humbled and thankful for the God who created all of this. In the silence and the solitude, I am not alone. I am with the Divine Presence and bask in the light and life that pervades everything around me. Like these unmoving rock monuments, I pray without ceasing, with perseverance and ever constantly. Praying is as much a part of my being as eating food is.

Everything I have asked in prayer, I have been given and received. Often, I have received more than what I have prayed for. Even things I have fondly wished for, but only secretly for I know I would be asking too much, have been given to me. Sometimes, I thought my prayers have been unanswered. But after a time, I realize I have already received what I had asked for but it only took time for me to see. Some of my most fervent prayers have been those that I have offered for others, for my family, for my friends and sometimes even for anonymous people I see praying with me in sacred places.

I have always been a searcher. I have often started out my searches with prayer. When I get to a fork on my life journey, I have always stopped and prayed. And what I have searched for, I have often found. More importantly, it is in prayer that the Lord inspires me what to search for. People often find what they search for. If one seeks for love, one finds love. If one seeks for adversity and conflict, one finds precisely these things. If one seeks for beauty and happiness, these things come around visiting. In prayer, I clarify what I want and what it is I seek.

I have opened a lot of doors in my lifetime. Many have opened whole new worlds to me. And many others have led me to great relationships. I might have opened one too many doors sometimes. But these regretful ones have been few and forgettable. In prayer, I see doors which I would have missed and have been led to many delightful ones to open. As I have progressed in prayer, I have also learned which doors not to open and which ones to leave closed.

I borrow this beautiful prayer from Søren Kierkegaard
“Father in heaven, teach us to pray in the way we ought,
so that our hearts may be open to You in prayer and invocation,
and conceal no secret desires that we know would displease You.
Also let us not anxiously fear that You would withhold from us
that which would in truth serve us best – that the thoughts that occupy our minds,
the restlessness of our spirit and the fears of our heart
may find rest where alone rest may be found:
in ever joyful gratitude and in the blissful confession
that before You we stand always in the wrong.”

‘So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.’
Luke 11:1-13

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