Sunday 23 July - Life as Prayer
‘The moment I wake up
Before I put on my makeup
I say a little prayer for you’
- Aretha Franklin
Ingrained in the psyche of humanity is a mysterious sense of connection with the divine, a deep longing for transcendence, an intrinsic reminder that we crave experience beyond the normal or physical level. The language that we have acquired over the centuries to explain this yearning is prayer, an invocation of the gods, a sacred dialogue with otherness, a holy practice of wishful thinking that entreats the deities to intervene in our mortal lives. Prayer is the life blood of our spiritual awareness, a conduit that facilitates our true becoming.
When Jesus said, “My house will be a house of prayer”, he was reminding us that our lives are a prayer, a place of divine dialogue, not just in formal acts of ritual entreaty, but a constant interactive that is deeply rooted in our ‘imago dei’, our innate relationship with the creator. Our relationship with prayer has always experienced the variance of familiarity and doubt, often falling prey to the distractions of hedonism and a relativism that constantly assails our minds, hence the need for regular over-haul of our focus and passion.
Prayer must evolve in us, and through us, if we are to faithfully have a life that honours the mortal-immortal equation. My mortality is constantly challenged by circumstances that overpower my sensibilities, obstacles that seem overwhelming and impossible to face, mountains that have magically arisen from molehills in order to discredit my trust in God.
When the gospel writer records Jesus words “tell the mountain to be thrown into the sea” he evokes the imagery of prayer as something that changes the landscape of our lives.
Prayer levels the playing field, it puts everything in perspective, alleviating the pressure and anxiety from our finite minds, a panacea for the current difficulty. It is a new way of seeing, a faith filled hopefulness that elevates our consciousness.
Our life as a prayer is an emerging kingdom poetic that Jesus came to reestablish and reaffirm as his primary rationale for why we exist as spiritual beings.
Here is my hiaku, (a Japanese poem of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five, traditionally evoking images of the natural world) my poetic prayer, an attempt to express the way that prayer postures my life.
Leaning in to pray
I gather my thoughts again
Wishful thinking pose