Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

About prayer

There's a post at Pray Tell about prayer - Prayer Is Not a Technique. It's interesting to see how differently different people feel about what prayer is like. I once read something from Anglican priest Steven Shakespeare about prayer - Speak to us of prayers - that began like this ...

As you might expect, I spend a lot of time on my knees.

Let me tell you about a couple of those occasions.

I am on my knees. Ben is not impressed. Poo has leaked out of his nappy up his back. I have it on my hands. I know I need to get his vest over his head and without getting poo in his hair and on his face. I know that I need to clean his bum and put a new nappy on. I know I need to stop him wriggling off the mat or putting his hands in the mess. I know I need something to wipe him with and a bag for the nappy and I know I got those things out before I started and now they are underneath me or underneath Ben or perhaps they have disappeared in the time space continuum. I know all this but I do not know, and I am panicking. 'O my God!' I say to no one in particular.

I am on my knees. Ben has managed to get the soap off me and then rub his eyes. This new sensation is really not all that much fun for him. He tries to stand up in the bath, screaming with pain and indignation. I am trying anything, duck impressions, funny faces, singing, it is like a children's TV show from hell. How's it going? calls Sally. Jesus Christ! I sigh.

I am on my knees. Ben is looking round expectantly. I start to chase him. He squeals with delight as he shuffles away then lets me catch and tickle him. He does the sign for more and speeds away again. My right knee hurts for some reason as I lumber off again. I wonder again about the wisdom of starting a family at nearly 40 years old. God help me, I groan.

Why am I telling you this? Am I trying to impress you with my parental credentials trying to convince you that I'm a good dad and a new man who gets his hands dirty. Hardly. I am sure that I am pretty mediocre as a parent. I am also sure that though I love Ben more than anything, there are times, oh God yes there are times, when I would rather be doing anything else than changing another nappy.

Of course I've not really dwelt on the many times in a day when we laugh together and get lost playing with his trains, or share a story, or go and feed the birds and have a go on the swings. It just seems that I don't really invoke God so much at those times.

'Speak to us of prayers,' I've been asked - and I feel I have to make a confession. I have to confess my unknowing. Do I, do we, really know what we are doing when we pray? Do we know whom we are addressing, or what language to use? Should we know? Is prayer about knowing those things? Or is it something else? ......

But anyway, my own prayer life - I'm still working on the Ignatian colloquy style of prayer ...

A colloquy is an intimate conversation between you and God the Father, between you and Jesus .... we speak and listen as the Spirit moves us: expressing ourselves, for example, as a friend speaks to a friend, or as a person speaks to one whom he or she has offended, or as a child speaks to a parent or mentor, or as a lover speaks to his or her beloved. Whatever the context, be “real,” speaking from the heart. As in any meaningful conversation, make sure to leave times of silence for listening ...

What might seem the odd part is that my colloguy conversations take place in an imagined coffee shop booth and Jesus looks/sounds like Peter from Fringe ...


Anonymous Richard said...

I like that idea:)

10:11 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

It seems to be working - I mean, he's more likely to talk back this way :)

12:28 AM  

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