Thursday, July 30, 2015

28 Minutes with Henri J.M. Nouwen

TASKS I love to set myself: writing tasks. It is the fun of life for me. So, I have 28 minutes in order to read some of The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life and to write down some reflections.
Suffering, the Gateway, Through Prayer, To Deeper Meaning
The “deeper meaning of prayer becomes manifest” in suffering. Uniting ourselves with Jesus in our suffering we unite ourselves to the one who suffered most and deserved it least. What solace that is when we consider (falsely) that our suffering is always more than what others have to bear and more than we deserve. But Jesus is a friend more than any can be when we suffer, because he suffered most and deserved it least. Jesus proves that bad things happen to good people. It’s just the indiscriminate way life is. And going there with Jesus we find something deep and ethereal about the experience. Prayer, in suffering, makes for deeper meaning. Deeper meaning is implicitly worthwhile as we look back afterward. Through suffering we view others’ suffering differently, with more compassion, insight, and willingness to serve and help.
The Mystical Power of Prayer in Healing Every Sorrow
“Prayer is leading every sorrow to the source of all healing.” What a paradox the gospel life is! When we are worst off we are best positioned to receive spiritual healing beyond all comprehension.
Can we learn to trust the voice of God when we go to him in prayer? We can only do such a thing if our soul is quiet, and that will take practice. The Lord is gentle and humble of heart (Matthew 11:28-30). He won’t force himself on anyone. The more attentive we are, the more we screen out the entire world competing, the more we will hear, and the more we will hone our sense for God’s Spiritual Presence.
Prayer in this way is not often what we think it is. Prayer for healing is a silent exercise of sitting, waiting on the Lord, and imagining what he is saying to us, by our knowledge that he suffered great injustice. He knows what we are dealing with. He, alone, can help. He, alone, helps as an exemplar of patience in distress, hope in vanquishment, and in love, bearing, believing, hoping, and enduring.
Oh, did I reach my goal of reflecting through this piece of writing in 28 minutes? No. I was interrupted. But it was a God-interruption and I’m just fine with those types of interruptions.
But, the key point is this: we learn depth in our suffering and every sorrow can be healed through soul-silent prayer.
Prayer through every sorrow,
In faith toward our healing,
Prayer heals what we are feeling,
We will be better for tomorrow.

© 2015 Steve Wickham.

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