Sunday, March 29, 2009
Prayer that precedes faith.
In her introduction to Every Eye Beholds You, edited by Thomas J. Craughwell, prominent scholar of world religions Karen Armstrong, writes that all the world's great prophets and sages have spent very little time telling their disciples what the ought to believe, that they have rather "insisted that before you can have faith, you must live a certain way." Prayer, in other words, is not born of belief but a practice that creates faith.
I love this idea. We in the western tradition have gone at prayer backwards, praying because we believe. To practice prayer this way means that we do not bring to our prayer preconceived notions of who God is. We do not force him into a mold of our own making. In this kind of prayer, God is encountered not seized.