Part of praying is like any hospitality –
you have to spend a bit of time making things right for your guest.
Jesus is someone who takes you as He finds you –
you don’t have to put on any airs and graces for Him – just as well, really..
But – once in a while – you do have to stop and give Him –
and yourself time to settle down – and this is where things get difficult.
The minute you sit down and think about giving Jesus a bit of time –
you immediately think of a thousand and one other things you should be doing.
If you manage to hold out against that – then in comes the guilt –
about not doing the one thousand and one things that you should have been doing…
The person who comes up with a solution to this
that works for everyone will make a fortune –
except that the solution seems to lie in being in heaven –
a state of eternal rest and life to which we can all look forward –
but which is not really within our grasp just yet!
So – this idea of spending quality-time with Jesus
is already posing its problems!
How do we do it – and not find ourselves
thinking and fretting about something else?
The answer is – we don’t!
One of the very best kept secrets about prayer is
that nobody – absolutely nobody can pray without distraction
(save those who are enjoying eternal rest – etc – see above…)
This is true – and comes as a shock to many.
Even Mary must have had to give way
to certain distractions sometime if you think about it!
Any great saint –
who you’d think could pray without any distraction whatsoever –
would admit to considerable aggravation.
There were the odd ones – as
in being exceptions, not just “odd” –
who could go off into raptures that lasted for days on end –
leaving the other several hundred thousand million of us
thinking that the chance would be a fine thing!
Distraction – bother – and that awfully convincing feeling
that you really should be doing something else are, therefore, absolutely normal.
If you don’t get them – then count yourself very lucky
(and maybe spend some of your undistracted prayer-time
praying for the rest of us!!)
Drinking from the Wellspring
Take some time out to do an experiment.
First stage: Settle yourself down with a cup of coffee – tea – or glass of something – and have a piece of paper to hand. Enjoy the moment – and jot down any thoughts and feelings that pop to mind. You can sketch them if that suits you better…
Second stage – not straight after the first… Settle yourself down with a cup of coffee – tea – glass of something – and have a piece of paper close to hand.
This time, tell yourself that this is prayer-time – devoted to thoughts of God – and only of God. Jot down any thoughts – feelings – ideas that pop to mind.
Compare your lists… Do your lists offer any insights into what Martha was talking about?
© 200X Wellspring
[This is one of a series of nine posts using one’s imagination to get inside a biblical character to make him or her come alive for listeners or readers. Parts 3 and 4!will be posted next week. In the meantime, I recommend you read or reread an article I wrote on distractions and prayer. Simply click an the “My Writings” file above and click on the article.]
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