Thursday, 15 January 2009

A Nouwen Bit on Prayer: Easy Support System to Risky Surrender

I came across a bit of Nouwen wisdom (originally from his book, Reaching Out) in my A Guide to Prayer Readings for Reflection this morning. He points out that "the movement from illusion to prayer is hard to make." It requires moving "from an easy support system to a risky surrender."

My Easy Support System

The Anglican daily office, in its many forms, can become for me an easy support system. I enjoy it. I enjoy the coffee I drink while I'm doing it, the familiar words, sitting in a cosy pool of light in the early morning darkness at this time of year, the orderly lectionary based Bible reading. Part one I pray on my own and part two with Jude. It is a comfortable routine, not to be abandoned, but not to be retreated into completely, either.

My Risky Surrender

How shall I move to risky surrender? Three things.

First, methinks fasting is the next step for me. Sigh.

Second, rather than trying to fit my prayer into my work life, I need to be better at fitting my work into my prayer life. I must be better at carving out and protecting prayer days; whole days on my own to pray through the parish list, to contemplate His Word, to sit in silence before the LORD, to soak, to let Him get at me. I tend to put them on the calendar, but then let tasks, demands and appointments intrude.

Third, something Jude has suggested several times; we need to pray before every decision. The risky surrender in that is giving God the chance to say, "No, you don't need that BluRay machine, that trip, whatever." I think Jude is right.

Not spectacular, but a beginning I hope.