Saturday, March 9, 2013

Praying With Fear and Trembling

The biggest fear I have is that I'm wasting my time. I am absolutely terrified that the five years I spent as an agnostic in my teens was a burst of truth and I simply retreated out of fear to a God I wasn't sure I loved or even knew on any experiential level.

thy will be done
here on this highway
in every house and field I pray
all in meekness yield
aided by want
among stranger people
to disgrace so soon I've come


What bothers me the most is that only recently have I begun to really pray. Not in the sense of asking for material of even spiritual gifts, such as more money or better discernment. Instead, I've begun to try a cosmic type of praying.

drift like sleep
into the hotel montana
lay low for thy names sake
el matador louisiana


What I mean is this: I've been reading through Colossians and Ephesians and St. Paul's view of the "heavenlies" and highly exalted "cosmic language." I do wonder if we miss parts of prayer where we focus on individuals and not systems, or we downplay individuals and beg of God to remove such sins.

full of bulls blood and what not
coarse jest to a tight knot
you are not acquainted with your own heart
frozen prayer upon my lips
inside the blood runs hot
he was reviled
yet he reviled not


Paul obviously prays for unity in the body of Christ, but his exalted language of the supremacy and preeminence of Jesus in Colossians 1 and Philippians 2 always struck me as odd. Why the hell would Paul just stop and write such things? Then I think it clicked for me.

like a voice in an empty house
breath your breath
and speak to me
speak to me


Paul was scared. He is alone in a crazy world where heresies threaten the church, women are going crazy in Ephesus and gnostics are proclaiming him as their "compatriot." So, I do wonder if there is much more to prayer than meets our experience, and Paul's view of Christ as being the "firstborn amongst the dead" really hit me hard.

it's a dry leaf that shivers on the branch
what matter if the wind cast it down
with a ruthless hand
cause we remember always
that it took place forever
thy kingdom come in
whosoever


The fear of the unknown and the cosmic world at play always struck me hard. It usually happens when I'm quiet and alone and sitting in the dark, as the mind is quick to bring up such concepts when you are trying to forget about them. Then I prayed for the whole world. 

like a voice in an empty house
breath your breath
and speak to me
speak through me


I prayed for a long time and the universe and all the hostility and terror seemed quite small in comparison. Then time itself seemed to lull and sleep became a time of rest.

--Nick

2 comments:

  1. "I prayed for a long time and the universe and all the hostility and terror seemed quite small in comparison. Then time itself seemed to lull and sleep became a time of rest."

    Hey Nick, Good to hear this. This is a more important priority than the quest for resolving all modern day theological disputes, as much as I enjoy resolving the disputes :-)

    ReplyDelete