Unlocking the Practice of Prayer

When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! – Matthew 6:7-8

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Of all the spiritual disciplines, for me prayer is the most difficult to maintain. I have tried just about everything: prayer lists, prayer-walking, prayer-guides … you get the picture. Is there some secret to a vibrant prayer life? Is there a key to the victory for which I so desperately search?

I can only think of one … being still. You know, calm and silent. Something I rarely am! To hear another person, one needs to stop thinking of himself. To receive from another person, one needs to stop moving away. To listen to another person, one needs to stop talking. Perhaps the moment I am willing to stop thinking of myself, be still, and shut up is the moment that a meaningful conversation with God will most likely begin.

Makes sense, right?

I throw myself down in my chamber, and I call in, and invite God, and his angels thither, and when they are there, I neglect God and his angels, for the noise of a fly, for the rattling of a coach, for the whining of a door. – John Donne

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