Thursday, June 09, 2005

Practically Speaking

Something I know for certain, through experience and not by reason alone, something that practically speaking is one of the most important things I've learned: regular prayer has a healing effect on my particular incarnation of fallen nature. It's a truth so simple it seems hardly to bear mentioning, and yet so easily forgotten that I can't remind myself of it too often: when I pray regularly, whether I feel devout and attentive in doing so or not, my work and my patience and empathy in relating with others improves, and when I neglect to pray, those same aspects of my life deteriorate and begin throwing up obstacles making it ever more difficult to even lift my eyes to the heavens.

What seems especially important is that such prayer not be based on acting when the inspiration comes or the mood strikes, but that it be offered with trust in God rather than primary attention to my inner experience and that it be set enough in time and form to be independent of my passing moods. Among many reasons why this might be so, one seems especially compelling: when I least feel like praying, I am most in need of doing so.