Our class was reading some more articles on prayer this week and one article provoked some questions for me about spiritual practices/disciplines.
How do we judge the value of a practice?
Do practices have to be “fruitful” for us to stay with them?
How can we decide if a practice is successful or unsuccessful?
What happens when a practice does not “work?”
I don’t have the sense I have answers today for these questions but I do have the sense these are questions that need asking. I wonder if the way many talk and write about spiritual practices/disciplines we can come to the place where we trust the practice. We hear someone tell us what such and such practice has done for them and we “buy into” the practice to get the results we hear about.
One article we read this week, “Prayer in Eclipse” by Ken Massey, pushed me think to think beyond the “quick fix” approach.
In the article Massey writes, “My prayer life, [has been] long eclipsed by emotional pain over my daughter’s tragedy, . . . I no longer have much faith in the ‘power of prayer’…” (p 76) “At some unconscious point, I wrote off God’s intervention and went into survival mode.” (p 78)
Does that get your attention?
Let me share one more quote from the article, “Something has changed for me in the past year, however, which I can only attribute to the prayers of Jesus. Apparently, when I could not pray, Jesus never stopped. When I was buried in chaff, he was trying to dig me out. My faith found a resting place in Jesus’ prayers for me rather than in my prayers to him. I no longer have much faith in the ‘power of prayer,’ but my faith in the power of God is emerging from eclipse.” (pp 78-79)
What questions do you have? What answers do you begin to hear?