August 29
Prayer is believing in something bigger
than yourself, or anything you've ever
touched or known.  It's telling a river or
an open field that you need a little help.

Ashley Rice


Today's Meditation:

"Telling a river or an open field."  What beautiful words of wisdom, and what a refreshing perspective on prayer.  For centuries, dogmatic religious types tried to tell people how to pray, where to pray, when to pray, even which words to use, and I think that people ended up being just a little frustrated with their experiences in prayer.  After all, prayer is supposed to be a personal experience, but the highly-directed forms of prayer were anything but personal.

Most of my best praying comes when I'm out for a walk in the woods or mountain or on the beach.  At such times I have far fewer distractions and I'm in the presence of creation--and not just the human side of creation, which really is a small portion of creation as a whole.  When I'm out for a walk in nature I can feel the immensity of our world and my smallness in it, but also I can feel that I belong to it.  And my doubts about God fade in such situations, and I feel a closeness to divinity that I usually don't feel on a busy day in a place where I have lots of obligations and responsibilities.

There truly is nothing wrong with asking God for help, and when you feel God closer is usually the best time to ask.  After all, do we ask our parents or friends for help more often when they're far away, or when they're closer?  The closer we feel to God, the more likely that we feel that the effects of the prayer are positive, and since prayer is almost just as much about ourselves as it is about God, how we enter prayer and how we feel about our prayers goes a long way towards determining the effectiveness of our prayers.

As an omnipresent being, God is with everything and in everything.  It makes sense to speak to a lake when our intention is to speak to God, for the lake is just as much a part of creation as anything else, and its beauty and peacefulness provide a very appropriate backdrop for the prayers we send forth.  Communication consists of sender, receiver, and medium, and a beautiful part of nature is a great medium through which to contact God.

Questions to consider:

Why do we get locked into certain prayer rituals or methods?

Where do you pray the best?  Where do you feel that your prayers are most effective?

How can we teach ourselves to look for new ways to pray?

For further thought:

I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting
station, through which God speaks to us
every hour, if we will but listen.

George Washington Carver

More on prayer.
More on nature.


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