Reflections by Jerry Webber

Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Book of Prayer

I was reading a book on prayer by a noted author yesterday. I heard in her words hesitancy and the acknowledgment of some fear in beginning the book. The writer drew back just a bit as she realized that she was stepping into a huge topic about which so much has already been written.

I felt her trepidation. It was as if she were saying, "What do I have to say that hasn't already been said? Why should my words on prayer count for anything?"

As I read her hesitancy, in my mind I said to myself -- and to her, from a distance -- "You DO have something to say. You have YOUR book of prayer to write!" And I'm so glad she went ahead and wrote her book.

No sooner had that thought run through my mind, though, than the next thought came:

"And Jerry, what is YOUR book of prayer?"

It's another thing that keeps me hidden and private . . . the notion that whatever I have to say about the spiritual life has already been said. But just the raising of that question led me into an afternoon of considering . . . "What would be MY book of prayer?"

So I sketched out what prayer has looked like in the different seasons of my life. I thought of the ways I have failed at prayer and the ways that I've connected with God, some of them traditional and some very counter. I spent the afternoon mapping out Jerry's book of prayer.

And not only Jerry . . . but you have a book of prayer, too. We all have our own book of prayer, the book that records how we have done it well, how we have been frustrated, how we have been stretched and grown, how we have come into new depths in our prayer.

One day I may -- or may not -- get around to putting mine to paper.

Whether you write out your book or not, the important movement may simply to be acknowledging that you have your own book of prayer, and that you give some attention to what it might look like.

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