Picking up on the topic of growth from yesterday – developing a prayer life can be likened to keeping our swords sharp. The metaphor works well here because as I’ve experienced in my own prayer life, there are two sides to prayer – the what and the why. And, each edge needs to be whetted on a stone.
The what: I consider this the actual method of prayer. If someone asked you how you pray, you’d probably give an answer reflecting the method. A good example is reading a morning reflection.
The why: no matter what method we use, we must remember the purpose for using any method at all – to lift our minds to God and draw closer to Him.
The problem is when we remember one of these but not the other. Often, our prayer life becomes reading a reflection and then stopping there. Not sitting with it, meditating on it in our own lives, talking to God about it, and listening to Him. Prayer becomes just a task.
And, on the flip side, if we are cognizant of the why, we can’t ignore the what and opt for nebulous half-prayer, half-mind wandering as we’re lying in bed.
So, how can we keep these two edges sharp? In my own life, recalling that there is a difference between the what and the why (but that they are united) goes a long way. But, arguably more important is spiritual reading. We’re blessed to have countless Saints who have already done it. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We don’t need to always rely on ourselves. We can turn to the Saints as our Spiritual masters. These men and women have gone before us, blazing a trail of tried and true methods for going deeper in prayer.
These spiritual works can be the whetstone for our own blades. And, if we are not sharpening the blade, it’s inevitably getting duller.
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