Here is my second offering of a recorded prayer. As I said in my last post, when I wake in the night, I wish there were some guided prayers I could listen to, to settle me, to connect me with God, to remind me that all is well and I am safe.
This is a prayer for when you lie down to sleep, when you wake in the night, or when you want to rest or have a nap in the day. This is designed to help you relax and find rest in God’s presence, such that you might drift off into sleep in a feeling of trust and letting go.
There comes a time when God appears to change. This may happen many times in a life. It is not so much that God feels distant or absent, though this may also be the case. It is more that you look for God in the usual place, or you think of God in the usual way, and this no longer seems to work. The usual is no longer satisfying, or now seems childish or naïve, or has become intellectually lacking. It is not that you no longer want God. It is not that you no longer want to pray. It is that you thought you knew and now you are not so sure.
A few years ago I was at a day conference with Silence in the City. It was a hot summer’s day. I was due to meet up with a couple of people later. Towards the end of the talk, both people sent texts begging off because of the heat. I was irritated. I do not understand being unable to cope with the heat. Just deal with it!
I had a discomfiting revelation the next day. I was at a meeting in a church in the City. There was so much noise: the interminable roar of traffic and the beeping of reversing trucks; the wearing whir of air-conditioning; the repetitious patronising announcements on public transport. I struggle with noise. I get steamed up. I just want some silence!
Inevitably, when I sit and pray in the morning I wish for a new, improved me. I lack kindness to myself. I try to think my way into becoming better. I try to think about how to sort out my life. I try to think about what to do. But thinking is not prayer.
Every day I go to my chair and I sit in the early morning light or dark. I set down my glass of water. I look into Your face. I’m pretty consistent about this. I get anxious if it is put off or I miss the appointment.
Every day I struggle. I come with feelings of failure and inadequacy and waste. I come wanting to be fixed. I come to be sorted out. I come wanting to know. I come longing to be lifted up into a realm of light and eternity. I come knowing there is so little time.
It is Saturday morning. There is nothing I have to do – or nothing urgent. I sit at the open window in my pyjamas with the sunshine, the trees now in full leaf, the early morning birdsong, the air touching my face. This is what I want to do. This is how I want life to be always: nothing I have to do. I feel my upper chest relax, right into my shoulder joints, as I allow the truth and trust of this fully to sink in. Though it is my ritual upon waking to sit here, to pray and meditate, I don’t feel the need to do something ‘spiritual’. I want to sit and look out of the window and do nothing (except for the mostly unnoticed actions that occur autonomically: respiration, blood flow, peristalsis: this body is a dynamic system that does not rest – until it does).
People will often say that they can’t pray. When asked they will say that they are unable to make their minds still or empty of thoughts. Somehow they have acquired the fantasy that to be able to pray they have to be able to stop the hubbub of thoughts that happen. At this point I am reminded of what was said to me on a course in mindfulness: “When your mind wanders, this is not a problem.”
If you have found the resources on this website helpful and you would like to make a ‘thank offering’ to support our work, you can make a one-off donation through give.net. Alternatively, please send your contributions, with a Gift Aid form if you wish, addressed to the ‘Treasurer’ or anyone of us whose addresses are on the About Us page. Cheques are payable to ‘Annunciation Trust’.
Please also consider leaving the Trust a gift in your will.