Sometimes for no particular rhyme or reason prayer can suddenly become a bit stunted or dry . It is not that the heart isn't willing but anything I try to say or do somehow falls a little flat or lacks meaning or strength...or both- like in Matthew's Gospel where Jesus talks about the pagans babbling- that was very much my feeling over the last few days. Maximum babble minimum output. I've had a few days 'dry spell' this week when you know what you want to say or how you want to pray but it just doesn't quite come off. Suddenly this morning the drought seems to have lifted. I don't know what happened or why but its nice to return a little sheepishly (excuse the pun) to the fold. I do feel somewhat prodigal because when you feel unable to reach the truth that lies in prayer the world does change a little and it highlights how little I do for God in the first place but how important even that little time is(I have to confess that I do not devote enough time to prayer I am too selfish and I make the same excuses about time that I guess most people do) . Perhaps the reason for these spells are they make you grateful for the gift of prayer, this unique communication which feeds life. Perhaps it is to make you realise what a difference prayer makes to each day. Perhaps, it is to stop you getting comfortable and make you search a little harder or deeper. Perhaps it is to make you realise that prayer is always something you should be working on developing and that, like most things, it is a grace. Perhaps it is to teach you a lesson that will not be revealed for a little time to come. Anyway, in my dry spell I have discovered some excellent sources to aid prayer(or prayer boosters). Here are a couple of my favourites:
I bought this book a little while ago and while it may initially seem to be a little heavy going it is full of stories of people living out their life according to the Gospels which are uplifting and beautiful. John Paul's message 'Do not be afraid' is very much alive in each of these people. Also, it is a wonderful way of getting in touch with the world Church and includes information about the modern Church in all corners of the world- which is enough to astound. It is the kind of book that you don't have to read cover to cover- you can simply open it and the likelihood is you will find something to inspire you and make you thankful to be part of this beautiful institution that, at its best, is so full of forgiveness and unconditional love.
At the weekend I watched Rick Larson's presentation on the Star of Bethlehem and it took my breath away. I am sure many in America have seen this film but it wasn't released in the UK so I had to order it and wait for it to arrive. It was worth it though. I was utterly humbled by it- just being reminded how tiny we really are made me astonished but that is small cheese compared to what is on offer from this guy. Larson has come up with a pretty plausible theory about what the Bethlehem Star was and how solid scripture is surrounding this event. He delves deeply into the old testament and concludes that the star was a real event long foretold. There are a few astounding surprises and revelations that I won't spoil for you but it really is great stuff!
This book is a collection of letters from the founder of the L'Arche communities for the mentally handicapped. Vanier is a man of true humility and beauty. He writes about his encounters with not only the wonderful human beings who make up his community and how they have transformed his life but encounters and friendships with some of the other spiritual giants of our era - Mother Teressa and John Paul II to name but a few. He can see through the veneer of our age to the true value of life and optimism in our world. Again, one you can dip into for a little inspiration.
Hopefully, I'm not on my own with this one. Nevertheless regardless of prayer status I think the above are woth a look and wanted to share. Happy praying everyone - here's to less babble more communication (I hope!).