Thursday, October 3, 2013

“It is in that divine space that God’s Spirit prays in us.”

“It is in that divine space that God’s Spirit prays in us.”  (Henri J.M. Nouwen, Making all things new, page 90.)

The Holy Spirit praying in us.  Thank you, Father Nouwen, for this image.

Nouwen did not cite scripture or tradition as proof for this image.  He stated it as a truth.

God’s Spirit is praying in you in that divine space, and is praying for . . . what?  Nouwen wanted us to learn to listen, as individuals and as communities, and discern what God wants.

I’ve been thinking about the prayer experience I blogged about on Sept. 23 as “coming to attention.”  Yes I know, a military image so maybe not a positive association for some of you.  A divine drill sergeant barks, “A-ten-tion!” and the ranks of the enlisted go rigid in response.

Not the image of yourself or of God that you favor?  How about this-- a dog closely watches a trainer waiting for the next command.  The dog trusts the trainer, enjoys the tasks it is given to do, and loves the rewards it earns.  Anticipation of the joy to come is evident in the way the animal cocks its head, looks on with intelligent, eager eyes, and tenses its muscles preparing to obey.

Attend.  Anticipate.  Obey.  Repeat.

I think Attention and Anticipation are the best terms for what I experience at times in prayer. Now to move on to the next phase Nouwen mentioned-- Discern and Obey. That would be tremendous. I'm not there yet (other than to know that Love of God and Neighbor is what God always wants).

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