Integrated Life: Prayer

 This past Sunday we looked at how prayer is part of the "integrated life." An integrated life is one that coordinates or blends all its parts (even those which we label "bad, ugly or unwanted") into a functioning or unified whole.   Prayer is a practice that helps us in this "blending/accepting of all parts" process.  Richard Rohr describes prayer as anything that stirs faith, hope, and love within oneself.   It isn't so much about talking to God, as being with and experiencing God in the moment.  Jesus talks of the "kingdom of God being in our midst" (Luke 17:21).  God and His Kingdom are experienced in our daily midst, rather than something to be obtained.  God and His Kingdom are already present in our lives.  He is already present in the heartache, joy, life, death, anger, disillusionment, and the mundane grind of every day.  Prayer is an act of acknowledging the already presence of God.  It can be as simple as a gaze turned heavenward, or it can be a deliberate a dedicated time.
       Regardless, of the form prayer takes, it requires an element of trust- trust that God is present and loving.  Sometimes trust develops slowly, and that is OK.  We can grow in faith and trust- it doesn't have to be an "all or nothing" deal.  The more we open our real selves and the gritty reality of our life to God the more we find that He is already present and loving us.  And out of that connection, trust continues to grow.  Paul reminds us that slowly but surely we are being transformed into that which we gaze upon.   "But all of us...reflect like mirrors the glory of the Lord. We are transformed by the Spirit of the Lord in ever-increasing splendor into his own image" 2Cor. 3:18.  If we are willing to return the gaze of God (which is at the heart of prayer), our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God is reflected and we become like him.

Reflect this week: 
What am I gazing on?

By Babs May-Clark