Prayer and Gratitude
This past year, I have been taking tons and tons of risks. Possibilities present. I commit myself to these possibilities, unsure of whether I have seen little more than a facade. However, somewhere within I stumbled across a yearning, a quiet plea buried.
When I started teaching, I learned about adolescent development. Adolescence exists as an intriguing time to finding the true voice of the heart. It’s scary as all get out to try to connect with an inner passion that somehow sets you apart as uniquely you. What’s within you giving you life?
The hunt for this source can easily drain out my energies. When chasing glimmers in the distance, both the path and the goal remain frightfully veiled. It’s hard to know what to pray, how to pray, and whether your prayer is your own attempt to force your will.
But over this past year, I found myself looking for a different model of prayer that seems like telling God what He already knows, leaving myself with little more than “just the facts” of my situation. I have come to love how the Mother of God approached Christ while at the wedding of Cana. “They have no wine.” It’s a totally factual statement that manages to convey both the request and confidence.
It’s hard to resist the “I want”s and “God, You really should”s of prayers. Admitting our powerless in the present is freakishly scary. “I don’t know where the money is going to come from.” “I have no idea which direction I should take.” “I didn’t realize the speed limit right there.” “The only choice I’m seeing is x.” It’s hard to plop yourself down into God’s hand, or even to simply find solace and rest in the prayers you know others are praying for you.
Total dependence stinks.
But then, we see total dependence move one step further. The Mother of God exhorts us “Do whatever He tells you to do.” Total dependence has the potential to create obedience. I’m grateful that when it comes to obedience, Christ provides and acknowledges the intention. As St John Chrysostom says, “He both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, And honors the acts and praises the offering.”
1 September is the New Year in the Orthodox Church. I hope this year to continue my journey towards prayer, connecting with my heart’s cry that brings me to obedience through the portal of totally depending on Christ. Holy Mother of God, thank you for your examples of how we are to pray amidst providing us reason to celebrate our complete dependence on your Son.