Are there days when we seem unable to pray?
During this time of formation, as the Church calls it, I am trying to get into the habit (no, not that one) of praying each day. I know that for some people, they are required to pray at regular times of the day – what are known as ‘offices’ of the day. It is a set liturgy or form of words. It provides a framework for the day, allowing God to be there – but surely God is there all of the time?
I started to unravel this with my Spiritual Advisor (they are not keen with the term Spiritual Director as they don’t direct). They suggested that I consider one of the Church Fathers comments
“Pray as you can, not as you can’t”
OK let’s unpack that.
We may all find time to pray but what of those times when we can’t pray? Those times when life’s circumstances are so significant that we struggle to make the time and then make the decision to pray. Probably those are exactly the right times to make the time to pray and speak with God.
We may be too tired, but God is with us, wanting to be in communion with us.
We may be angry even, with others or with God, but God is still there for us, eager to listen to our concerns. Importantly I believe to respond to us especially in our times of greatest need.
We may be happy – but still wish to find that time to thank God.
Perhaps it’s inviting us to pray at all times, not in long prayers but short words of joy, thanks and seeking God’s help in whatever we are doing: including God in our lives.
I was also told of a saying from St Ignatius
“Finding God in all things”
Can we say “God is here” when getting onto a packed bus or tube? when the road ahead appears blocked? or when the computer freezes just before you saved that epic piece of work? That may be praying in all things, as you can.
As I look at the leaves what can we see? What can I thank God for? If we are unhappy does the pausing to reflect upon this picture help to find God?
It may be trying to explore our world, even ourselves, with God at all times, rather than at set times or even days.
for my prayer times, but now seek to pray as I can, and not as I can’t for the remainder of the day.