Prayer is properly is not petition, but simply an attention to God which is a form of love.Iris Murdock On ‘God’ and ‘Good’
Many years ago I trained as a masseur. The opening salvo of the instructor was, “No massage is bad massage.” It is a beautifully ambiguous assertion: all massage, however unskilled, has worth; and, not to have massage is your loss.
I, of course, assert the same thing about prayer. No prayer is bad prayer.
- There is no ‘right’ way to pray. Pray any which way you can and want – however badly or falteringly or hesitantly you feel you do it. All prayer, however unskilled, is worthwhile.
- Not to pray is your loss and God’s.
Notwithstanding this, I suspect the default form of prayer for many of us is petition – for a parking space, world peace, health – arranging a greater or lesser number of words in the head and projecting them at God.
This is not satisfactory as the sole mode of prayer.
- It works on the model of a God that is elsewhere;
- a relationship, even with a deity, that is all about asking is childish!
God is right here, around you and within you, so pray as if this is the case. Asking and talking is important, but let it be with that which is intimately close. Let any words come from your heart, or the whole body, not only the head.
Don’t do all the talking; listen as well. God rarely uses words. Therefore, listening involves feeling into yourself, your body, this body – attending to the heart and the guts.
Hang out with God sometimes.