Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Prayer Is Where the Beholding Is Birthed (PrayerLife)

Me, walking

Here's one of those quotes I read decades ago and, for some reason, stays with me. C.S. Lewis wrote:

"Say your prayers in a garden early, ignoring steadfastly the dew, the birds and the flowers, and you will come away overwhelmed by its freshness and joy; go there in order to be overwhelmed and, after a certain age, nine times out of ten nothing will happen to you."
- C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves21-22

The idea here is that true prayer is about meeting with God, not about being blown away by God's creation. But I consistently find the following to be true: The more I take time to meet with God and pray, the more I am blown away and astounded by God's creation. The consistent act of actually praying gives me eyes and ears to see and hear the external world differently.

Henri Nouwen puts it this way:

"For those who pray from the heart, the world loses its opaqueness and becomes transparent: that is, the world of experience starts pointing beyond itself to the luminous Source of wisdom and understanding, to the translucent realm of the Spirit of God. To contemplate is to see, to make visible that which is hidden from ordinary sight."
Nouwen, Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit, Kindle Locations 408-410)

People who pray from the heart don't need to travel elsewhere to behold God's glory in his creation. It's all in my backyard, and your's. It's in the park down the street; it's in the skies above. It's the handiwork of God, pointing us back to him again and again.

First, pray. This is where the beholding is birthed.