OK : It's the second week of Lent. Last Sunday, our priest said one of the key opportunities availing us in Lent was to be searingly honest with ourselves.
Well, the truth is that today, I am lacking the desire to do anything.
Yesterday, I had glimmers of starting the week off well but today even though I know I’m supposed to want to get my act together to be more loving, kind, generous, understanding and forgiving, today I just do not desire any of it..
Today I am feeling like this......
“Do you have the desire for this desire?”
"Even if you don’t want it, do you want to want it?"
"Do you wish that you were the kind of person that wanted this?"
This was meant to provide comfort that even the flimsiest traces of desire are supposed to be glimpses of an invitation from God.
"According to one best-selling American writer, Anne Lamott, the prayer of the Daily Offices can be simply summarised.
Morning prayer, she suggests, can be condensed into a single word: ‘Whatever’.
And Evening Prayer needs only two words: ‘Ah, well…’.
Prayer, I suppose, is one of those activities that Christians (indeed, folk of all faiths) engage in, but seldom pause to consider what it is they are doing.
The habitual, impromptu and mysterious nature of prayer is part of its fascination.
Here we have the language of faith, of desire, of hope, of healing – and even occasionally of justification and indignation. And occasionally the quirky: ‘Hail, Mary, full of grace, help me find a parking space’: a prayer that not only rhymes, but also seems to work – at least for some.
Several years ago I was an honorary Chaplain to a professional Rugby Club. I performed all the usual duties. Perhaps inevitably, in all the fracas and fury of a game the name of God would often be invoked by the supporters.
And after a crucial-but-missed-kick, my neighbour might turn to me and say, 'I don't think your boss is helping us much today.'
The retort: 'Sorry. But I'm more marketing than sales...'
But prayer is not about success or even about winning. It as about attuning our hearts and minds to God, no matter what life throws at us.
Today, across the world, there will be tragedy and triumph, joy and pain, birth and bereavement.
Prayer won’t necessarily change these realities but it does change how we face them.
Lord, teach us to pray not for what we want, but for what we need.
Not for what we desire, but for what is wise.
And not for what we crave, but for what you can create.
and below are some bits from Anne Lamott's “Prelude” chapter from her book "Help,Thanks, Wow" taken from here.
"Some of us have cavernous vibrations inside us when we communicate with God. Others are more rational and less messy in our spiritual sense of reality, in our petitions and gratitude and expressions of pain or anger or desolation or praise. Prayer means that, in some unique way, we believe we’re invited into a relationship with someone who hears us when we speak in silence.
Prayer is talking to something or anything with which we seek union, even if we are bitter or insane or broken. (In fact, these are probably the best possible conditions under which to pray.)
Prayer is taking a chance that against all odds and past history, we are loved and chosen, and do not have to get it together before we show up.
The opposite may be true.
We may not be able to get it together until after we show up in such miserable shape."