Noctilucent clouds, Martin Koimae (wikicommons)
Some years back my church split. I was aware of the gathering clouds and felt the impending doom in the pit of my stomach. I prayed with an intensity I had not known before. ‘Fervent’ is I think the old term. Desperate more like! It was not averted. My finger in the dyke, amongst many others, did not stop what engulfed us. This was a watershed for me. I was dumbfounded to realise that my primary motivation for praying was my own comfort. And tracing this thought back I saw a trail of similar instances which underlined this view. Ok, there were other motivations but this key one had hidden behind the more explicitly ‘spiritual’ ones or at the very least was in the mix. And sure it was right to pray yet…
Here, presented before my very eyes, was the drive to avoid inconvenience, emotional, relational intensity and untidiness; for things to look right and not out of place. What stood tall, persisting with its claim, was this embarrassing truth that my own discomfort was the issue. Prayer as a means to control my life and the world around me! I see this is where my relationship with prayer and God changed tack. I read last week that we are called to be authentic not perfect. This was my reminder; the Spirit’s role is to draw me into honest and authentic exchanges with God and my own self. Is it reasonable to hope this might inform all relationships?