Learning

21 Mar

Good morning,

I read through the chapter on prayer in Celebration of Discipline this morning.  I was struck again about the simple concept of learning and practicing and refining your prayer skill.

I think we usually just ‘send up a little prayer’ when the inspiration strikes us.  We may even spend time in prayer on a regular basis, but I wonder if any of us really practice prayer like a skill.

I don’t know if I can figure out how to evaluate whether or not I am improving my prayer ‘skill.’

The disciples had Jesus to ask question of and learn from like in the passage below.  Again, we hear the frustration of Jesus.

Saturday,  The prayer of command           Mark 9:16-29

16 Jesus asked the disciples, “What are you arguing about with them?” 17 Someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought you my son; he has a spirit that makes him unable to speak; 18 and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so.” 19 He answered them, “You faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.” 20 And they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked the father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.” 23 Jesus said to him, “If you are able!—All things can be done for the one who believes.”24 Immediately the father of the child cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!”25 When Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You spirit that keeps this boy from speaking and hearing, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!” 26 After crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he was able to stand. 28 When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”

29 He said to them, “This kind can come out only through prayer.”

I want to try to increase my ‘prayer skill.’  I agree with Richard Foster about listening to God to learn what to pray about and how to proceed with that prayer.  For me, pray has become a kind of dance; quieting myself to listen to the Divine Presence and feeling my way into the next move in the dance.

I lift all of you to the radiance of God’s brilliant grace to be healed and holy.

Peace,

Mary

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