Wading into the stream …gracefully
“Do you think you pray enough?” That was the question posed by a blogger on our church blog. I was stopped dead in my tracks.
- Enough prayer?? – what is enough?
- Think?? – I’m supposed to decide with my mind if my praying is sufficient?
- You?? – I am supposed to judge my “enough”?
How in the world can you quantify prayer?! Measure it in minutes? Prayer is a living thing. It has no boundaries. Certainly none that humans can lay down. It’s beginnings and endings are unknown to us. Where would we start our stopwatch? How long would we listen until we could no longer hear the ticking of its echo? More, much more than this, is the measure of prayer.
No, prayer for me is fluid. It connects me to a stream of living water that meanders in and out as the shoreline varies, here among the tall reeds, there among the grasses and marsh. Over the pebbles and around the boulders. It seeps into all the spaces. Constant. Ever-flowing. Its beginning we cannot see; its ending we cannot fathom.
Does it diminish? Exposing some of the shore grasses to the heat of the direct sun? Does it pull away from its banks, the swiftly flowing stream become a meandering brook then barely a trickle leaving dry, broken and cracked ground? Is prayer like that?
Prayer to me is wading into the ever-flowing stream of grace. A stepping in. Feeling the rush of water against my feet, my legs, my body. The further in I go the deeper I get. There I feel the current of grace and its direction. I have the sense of its initiation and its destination. I am part of it. Time has no meaning here. Gratitude takes its place.
What a great over-flowing of its banks there will be as all of God’s people wade in! I saw that this week as we all gathered around the family who lost their son. I felt the water level rising as we gathered in the river and it spilled over its banks and beyond its lapping shores. Flowing more and more, nourishing and greening up all that had been standing by. All who were on the shores watching and wondering. Tickling toes and refreshing souls, that they might feel its welcome coolness and calm and comfort. That they might know what grace feels like.
Do we think we pray enough?
Do we come to the stream and drink?
Do we wade in?
Oh, Holy hydration.
What if my whole life were lived as prayer. Continually in the stream. It’s currents, its rapids, and its gently flowing gradient moving me along from source to destination, the pouring by a Great Hand into an ocean beyond my imagining.