- Reflections by Bob Garbett
What Prayer Isn't
Something was doing the changing for me. I became an observer to this inward reality. The change was being “done unto me” and continues to be “done unto me”. The very last thing you need is: to be doing the changing where change is not needed. Just as the lily should never be in charge of its own growth or development program, we learn how to become ushers - and like the lily; learn how to go with this flow.
Like good sentinels we should neither block nor resist, but simply observe. But how are we to do this? As we mostly only react to the unobserved tyranny of the monkey mind...
But not the sort of prayer you were taught at Church or Sunday School. Not, the 'words that come out of your mouth' type of prayer.
Praying with words is problematic. It creates a noisy cacophony of sounds, words, obstacles, hurdles, barriers - an impenetrable fortress. While all the time we feel a sense of accomplishment because we have managed to talk for twenty minutes?! Prayer, we were taught, is something you "do". It is actually something you DON'T do! It is something that is “done unto you”.
Imagine standing in peak hour at Flinders Street Station in Melbourne or Waterloo Station in London, trying to listen for a whisper?! Or hearing a still, small voice while also talking at the same time! It is a question of focus, of attention and more importantly, intention.
In the midst of all those distractions, of all that noise, we find a noiseless presence. A stillness. One that beckons and calls in the eye of all these storms. We offer up our intention - and that is enough. Our intention is an invitation, an irresistible opportunity into which God can become "known". It is here in this place that God is "done unto us".
See all previous articles by Bob Garbett