Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Prayer & Withdrawing From the Narcotic of Busyness (Prayer Summer)


Prayer is talking with God about what he and I are doing together. It is in prayer that we receive our "to do" list. Our "doing" emerges out of our "being-with-God."

If this is not the case, then our doing is mostly, if not entirely, irrelevant and inauthentic. This is because our doing is not directed and unguided, except by the self or the voices of this world or that other, dark voice.

This is a challenge for those of immersed situated in the frenetic soup of Western culture. In our culture we are defined by function, and not by relationship. We are defined by our situatedness on the tribal totem pole, AKA the honor-shame hierarchy. On this totem pole of striving who we are is what we achieve.

True prayer is not the achievement of anything. This is one reason people don't pray; viz., because it seems to be "doing nothing." The need to achieve and accomplish as fulfillment of our personal being is deep within us. James Houston writes:

"These conscious and unconscious drives work against a spirit of prayer, where we seek God's will rather than our own, and where we need to be still and listen to God rather than pump ourselves full of the narcotic of busyness." (Houston, The Transforming Power of Prayer: Deepening Your Friendship with God, 45) This is busyness as a drug that masks the symptoms of a diseased soul. It palliates, but does not cure.

What is the cure? It's found in a verse like Psalm 62, in its entirety. Here are verses 1-2:

 1 Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from him.
2 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

Houston writes: These words "are death to a spirit of self-importance and restless ambition. Sometimes we cannot stand to listen to such a radically different message when the world is seducing us to listen to its own claims." (Ib.)

In true prayer we lay aside a competitive spirit. We place ourself in a spiritual position to be won over by God.