a-Lenten-prayer-a-day, day 8, Thursday, March 9, 2017

my-hands-2-27-17Note: As a personal, spiritual discipline, I write a prayer for each of the forty days of Lent; each petition focusing on a theme, truly, relating to a care or concern weighing on my mind and heart, at times, vexing my soul and spirit…

On thinking too much: Sometimes (all the time?), Lord, I think too much about the world, about my self; sometimes thinking that if I think long and hard enough, I will, I can resolve – or, at least (at last?), catch a glimpse of an answer to – the questions of life and the riddles of my self that roil my soul and keep me restless and awake at night. Yet, the more I think (Ha! My dear Lord, I see the irony of thinking more about thinking too much!), I have come to this discernment for today: Too much thought without end is wearying; falling short of even Sisyphean success, for I never seem to get very far, oft unable to roll the stone of my wondering, my worrying beyond the bottom of the hill of my daily wrestling.[1] Hence, I become a martyr, slain by the barbs of my ceaseless inquisition, my interrogation without end of my self. Today, if but for an instant, I pray that You quiet the noise of my inner censorious chorus that I, listening only for the “sound of sheer silence”, ever the pacific introit to Your coming,[2] may know again the wisdom of trusting and resting in Your Love. Amen.

Footnotes:

[1] I refer to Sisyphus of Greek mythology, who, punished by Zeus for treachery, was forced endlessly, eternally to push a great stone up a hill only to have it roll down, calling him to repeat the action. Truly, the term “Sisyphean” is a metaphor applying to any labor that is time-and-energy-extensive-and-intensive and futile.

[2] See I Kings 19.11-13 (my emphasis): (The word of the Lord came to Elijah, saying) “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

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6 thoughts on “a-Lenten-prayer-a-day, day 8, Thursday, March 9, 2017

  1. Oh my dear Paul. You and I are truly brother and sister in our incessant fretting. How good it is to know I’m not alone in struggling to move that stone of worry every hour of the day and far too many hours of the night. I have always loved the Elijah verses you quoted and pray, like you, that someday my mind will quiet enough to catch the “still, small voice” after all the turmoil dies down.

    With much love,

    Karen

    Liked by 1 person

      • Verily, Karen, I have come to see and I am seeing that this exercise of prayer-writing is to tread a path of dual-discernment of my sense of Who God is and who I am, and perhaps, in the language of process theology, Who God is becoming for me and I for myself (indeed, my self). AND I appreciate the care of your company!

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  2. Thank you for this prayer Paul! It’s clearly struck a chord with many of your blog followers. It would be great if we could hear the sound of sheer silence. I’ll be working to make this happen in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Loretta, I have found a pathway to sharing Elijah’s experience of hearing the “sound of sheer silence” and that is, as I interpret 1 Kings 19, to do as he did – stand still and wait. Hard for me to do, for even when I’m sitting or standing still, my inner world remains in motion with a myriad thoughts coursing through the corridors of my mind. So, I ask God to quiet my inner noise.

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