Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Uncharted

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I was thinking about someone I know whose life (difficulties, gifts, circumstances, etc.) is constituted by such fathomless and intricate mystery that I scarcely know how to pray for her. To attempt to pray for her is to touch the outskirts of a mystery which is so much greater than the "outcomes" I would like to see--health, well-being, etc.--though I can't not pray for those too.

Then it occurred to me--we're all like that. We're all in some sense uncharted territory for each other, and for ourselves as well.

That took me back to Romans 8 (again):

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified."

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2 comments:

orrologion said...

I still pray for specific things now and again, but I tend not to anymore. I find life goes along better if I accept what God has given me for trouble and consolation, rather than if I pray for certain things. I once prayed Gerontissa Gavrilia to heal me of pride - the next day I was given a dramatic lesson in such. The saints can be dangerous; be careful what we pray for. I tend to simply pray for mercy, now, a la the litanies in the services. St. Nicholas Cabasilas discusses that here:

http://books.google.com/books?id=TV2maSGvcnkC&pg=PA47&vq=meaning+of+the+prayer+for+god%27s+mercy+after+every+petition&dq=nicholas+cabasilas+commentary+divine+liturgy&source=gbs_search_s&cad=0

I pray for others by name and in groups, but generally no more than "Bless and save..." - I add, "and grant wisdom to..." for my list of clergy and hierarchs. God knows the rest, and knows better than I what they need and can bear. Far be it from me to be granted a prayer that would be too much for the recipient to bear, or not what is needed for salvation.

Anonymous God-blogger said...

Thank you, Orrologion. This kind of prayer is new to me, and completely the opposite of everything I've learned about prayer for decades, and I don't know quite to make of it...I will keep pondering this...