Prayer is an education; prayer is the study of God.

Prayer is the purest form of theology.

Prayer is the classroom of the soul.

I desire to be a student of God, a student of Jesus, a student of the Holy Spirit.

“I give myself as a holy sacrifice…” –Jesus (John 17:19)

I desire to learn all that this statement means and to embrace it as my own.

As I ponder these thoughts, sitting in silence and allowing the activity of the thoughts to settle and be still in my mind, heart, and soul, I realize the confrontation of my doubts. These are the distractions of my own inadequacies, my desires for perfection, performance, proficiency. These are values imposed on me since childhood by my family of origin as well as my culture at large. They are hard to escape and often lead to these doubt-doorways to depression, discouragement, and sometimes, despair.

These thoughts and corresponding response to them are examples of the crossroads we (or at least I) continually face on the pathway that is the Christian journey.

Speaking strictly for me at this juncture, it can be exhausting and self-defeating but it does not have to be that way. Doubt and distraction need not be separators. On the contrary, they can be some of the most powerful faith magnets we know.

As the Rule of Taizé expresses in reference to prayer:

If your attention wanders, return to prayer as soon as you notice your distraction, without lamenting over it… There will be days when the Office is a burden to you. On such occasions, know how to offer your body, since your presence already signifies your desire… to praise your Lord. Believe in the presence of Christ within you even though you feel no tangible presence.

When we feel burdened by distraction in prayer or burdened by doubt by our proficiency as a disciple of Christ, we lean into God. We believe in the presence of Christ within us even though we may not feel the tangible presence. God is with me—God is within me.

We have ample opportunity to return again and again to Christ throughout our days. With each return, we show our alliance with Him, giving ourselves as a holy sacrifice to the Lord our God. With each return, our heart grows fonder, our faith stronger, and our image more Christ-like.

“I give myself as a holy sacrifice…” –Jesus (John 17:19)

 

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