The last few months have reminded me, once again, of the power of prayer. Not so much in terms of what I have witnessed in the lives of others, or in healings, or wonderful solutions to problems. Rather the power of prayer in my own life.
Through prayer and a couple of good friends I have come to see an aspect of myself that I was utterly blind to. I had an entirely unconscious pattern of behaviour which simply kicked in under particular circumstances. The breaking open of that space has been shocking, but it has been incredibly liberating.
Thinking about my own prayer life and how this has come about I realise that how we pray is actually immaterial. The important thing is the understanding that we cannot will ourselves to change. All we can do is put ourselves in the path of grace, and leave the rest to God.
It is entirely possible (as I have discovered) that we may not even be aware of the things of which we are most in need! For someone like me, who prides themselves on their self-knowledge, this is a revelation! How can I, who knows myself so well, have been so utterly blind to my own most basic of patterns?
Too often prayer is an attempt to convince God of our view of things. It is really an attempt to manipulate God into seeing things my way. Even centering prayer can be used in this way. If I sit and surrender to God for my twenty minutes then God is more likely to do what I want. If we pray in this way, we will miss the transformative power of grace.
What we need to do is to give God full access. To open ourselves to the grace of God. Any prayer method can get us there, it is the intention that is important. What we discover may not always be pretty, but it will lead to freedom.