May 12, 2004

"Illuminated" praying

Many of you know that I've spent the better part of the last five years struggling to better understand prayer. As a pastor, you'd imagine that, if I have any facet of my spirituality well-formed, it would be prayer, wouldn't you? The fact of the matter is, as I've confessed before, I don't really want to pray very often. I'm afraid of what this says about me...

In my search for a form of praying that will catalyze that passion within me, I've settled into a pattern I'm coming to think of as "illuminated praying." I use "illuminated" here in the same way we speak of beautifully embellished and illustrated copies of Scripture as "illuminated." So I pray a Scriptural prayer, and as I pray the inspired words, I "illuminate" them with images that resonate with my own experience--my own praises, concerns, desires, and ideas.

My good friend Chris over at Paradoxology has inspired a discussion of liturgical versus extemporaneous prayer forms in his recent post, The Tempering of Extemporaneous Prayer. In that context, maybe you'd consider my illuminated praying to be a hybrid of the liturgical and extemporaneous forms.

Guided prayer is another form that I've only recently discovered (thanks to the Irish Jesuits at Sacred Space and my old friend Mea at Ignispati) but that I'm finding very compelling...


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