Prayer is an integral component in the life of Jesus’ followers. However, what do we do when a way of praying that had once been satisfying, nourishing, and fervent has now turned dry, boring, futile, and unsatisfying? We may be overcome by perplexing and painful circumstances that bring disintegration into our prayer life and way of life. Like king David, we may feel in “a dry and parched land where there is no water” (Psalm. 63:1). Don’t be discouraged! The Holy Spirit, the giver of life, is calling us to a deepening of our prayer life through a kind of creative disintegration.
Are you bored with forms of prayer that involve only a lot of words and mental effort? Then you also need to learn to abide in the awareness of God which brings stillness. When prophet Habakkuk questioned God about the lawlessness and violence all around him, God answered: “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him” (Habakkuk. 2:20). We too are taught gradually to “walk by faith and not by sight” in the silent land (2 Corinthian 5:7).
We can learn from the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. The Risen Christ is not accessible to the senses in the way the historical Jesus was, but this does not imply He is absent. The Holy Spirit, poured into our hearts (Romans.5:5) draws us into God’s presence through Jesus Christ; deeper than our thinking and imagining powers can perceive, bringing delight to our whole being. This involves not only our thoughts and feelings, but also our innermost depths that ground thought and feeling, our knowing center, the place of divine encounter. With time and perseverance, stillness will enable us to dive deep into an awareness of God of holy love and experience liberating “joy and peace” (Isaiah. 55:12).