Tuesday, February 23, 2010

40 day journey with Martin Luther: Day 5 "True" Prayer

"God...wants you to lament and express your needs and concerns...in order that you may kindle your heart to stronger and greater desires and open and spread your apron wide to receive many things." --Martin Luther

I am culturally conditioned regarding the word "true." Often it is used to set someone over and above someone else, such as someone is a "true fan" if they do such and such a thing. Or a "true Christian" is someone who ascribes to particular doctrine or dogma. Luther appears to depict true prayer as someone who prays in earnest and with discipline. Earnest seems helpful on this occasion because method is left open and therefore examining self before prayer for intent becomes important.

Journal reflection:

"When do you feel closest to God?"

I feel closest to God in movement. It can be running, walking, driving. More of my senses are engaged--the beauty of surroundings, the sound of my breath and possibly music, the sound of animal life, human life and wind. Sometimes I smell something baking, the evergreens or the damp air. In a moving car I feel peace as the rubber rolls along the pavement. The car movement is calming and engages my brain in a powerful way. In these movements my brain engages in keeping balance, but after awhile my prayer directs me toward the important things of the day. Giving thanks helps me keep focused on the important things.

"Describe a time when your "whole heart" was at prayer. What feelings were evoked in you?"

My prayers for "whole heart" prayer don't seem all that focused. It usually comes in a time of distress. When things aren't right with my wife or daughters--illness or danger. My attention toward them and to God are in deep earnestness. If I'm thinking and praying about them, does that make it a whole heart prayer? Is prayer about focus, or earnestness? I don't know. But there is a feeling of total dependence. Maybe that is whole heart prayer.

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