Prayer can often be a challenge to my rational mind. I like to have concrete, explicit answers to my requests of God. But the very act of conversing with an unseen, often silent, Being challenges all my rational expectations. Yet I would not want a god whom I can easily fit into my own limited understanding. That god would be too small if it could fit into my mind. To truly pray is to enter into the mystery of God, the creator of heaven and earth. In a way prayer is our attempt to touch the hem of God’s robe.
Ted Loder writes about the mystery of God in his book Guerillas of Grace: Prayers for the Battle.
Mystery means that, in spite of all our efforts, all our insights, discoveries, and experiences, we will never do much more than touch the hem of God’s robe. It is enough that such touching brings healing. It is too much, idolatrously too much, to claim more than a very little information about the wearer of the robe. And even that little information we can claim only with enormous humility. However, humility is the twin of trust.
It has been said, referring to the temptation to which biblical literalists often succumb, that we should never confuse the love letter with the lover. We all have our version of such literalism, our dogmaticisms, our exaggerated (if unadmitted) claims of knowledge. Humble acknowledgment of mystery delivers us from the imprisonment of such certainties into the awesome dimensions of possibilities. Trust begins here. So, in some primitive way, does prayer. (p. 17)
I will never be able to fully comprehend how or why prayer “works,” but I continue to pray, trusting in God’s grace and love. Through out his life Jesus prayed to his Father; I follow in his example.
To use Ted Loder’s own prayer Calm Me into a Quietness,
Now, O Lord,
Calm me into a quietness that heals and listens,
And molds my longings and passions,
my wounds and wonderings,
Into a more holy and human shape (p.27)