The Problem with Prayer


Most prayer seems to fall into the categories of “You’re Great” and “I want.”

“You’re Great” is true. I believe it. And I have nothing against saying it. Over and over and over.

“I want” is also true, both in the send of “I desire” and “I lack.” Also “I need” — although probably not as often as I think I do.

But there’s another part — “You Are” — that doesn’t require my evaluation or judgment (because when we say something or Someone is great, it is a judgment).

For me, all the “You’re Great” and “I want” prayers became more chatter in my head.

I used to try to do the Jesus Prayer all the time, to “pray without ceasing.” “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” (“You’re great”; “I want.”) I used it wrong. I’m sure I did, because I was using it to drown out my feelings — to not feel anxiety, anger, fear, anything called “negative.”

So my prayers worked with my ego to protect me from reality I didn’t want to see. To help my Shadow hide from my eyes. I thought I was there because I “didn’t feel” the negative emotions. But they were the stories running under the words of the Jesus Prayer, changing the course of my life because I didn’t deal with them.

I don’t blame this effect on the Prayer itself. I did it wrong, obviously, because there is a great history of people who got to “You Are” through that prayer, but I didn’t know how they did it.

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