Thursday, July 22, 2021

Real Praying Knows From the Inside

After I die, should someone pick up my copy of Through the Year With Thomas Merton, they would conclude, "He read it. And read through it again and again." Because the book has fallen apart!

I read Merton because he had this deep, thick, massive praying life. Over many years. It was constant, never yielding to the growing media circus of our shallow culture. In praying, he met God, and was led to the wellspring of life.

August 28, 1990. That's the date I inscribed inside the book jacket. It became one of my companions in life, along with the Bible, Henri Nouwen, Eugene Peterson, and other writers who know prayer from the inside. They...  actually...  got alone with God... and prayed. This is real praying. 

Real praying knows from the inside, from much personal experience. Merton heard the voice of God and matured in discernment. Only the experienced discern. You don't believe in prayer if you don't have a praying life.

When I read the Scriptures I not only study them but am studied by them. When this happens, I pray the Scriptures. Because in them I am confronted by the One who is beyond me yet comes to me. 

In and through the Bible I am consistently known. And then, on rare occasions, someone who knows praying greater and longer and higher and deeper than I comes to meet me through a book. Like Merton. And I find myself drawn to praying through the book.

This life-of-praying thing is an inside job, available to all who grow weary of the world's pseudo-sophia and want more.