Frederich Buechner. His words were salve to my aching heart as I began to reframe my faith and ask genuine questions about what I had been taught as a Christian believer. For the first time in my life I was making friends with the reality of MYSTERY in my relationship with GOD. I was just beginning to realize that I was being called to LIVE INTO THIS GREAT MYSTERY. With joy I began to discard the "simplistic answers" and the "empty language" I had grown so accustomed to. I was for the first time embracing the Greatness of my CREATOR, the Beauty of this MYSTERY.
I want to share this wonderful excerpt Frederich Buechner wrote on prayer. This helped me to see prayer in a whole new light.
PRAYER by Frederick Buechner (From a book: Wishful Thinking, A Seeker’s ABC’s)
We all pray whether we think of it as praying or not. The odd silence we fall into when something very beautiful is happening or something very good or very bad. The ah-h-h-h! that sometimes floats up out of us as out of a Fourth of July crowd when the skyrocket bursts over the water. The stammer of pain at somebody else’s pain. The stammer of joy at somebody else’s joy. Whatever words or sounds we use for sighing with over our own lives. These are all prayers in their way. These are all spoken not just to ourselves but to something even more familiar then ourselves and even more strange than the world.
According to Jesus, by far the most important thing about praying is to keep at it. The image he uses to explain this are all rather comic, as though he thought it was rather comic to have to explain it at all. He says God is like a friend you go borrow bread from at midnight. The friend tells you in effect to drop dead, but you go on knocking anyway until finally he gives you what you want so he can go back to bed again. (Luke11:5-8). Or God is like a crooked judge who refuses to hear the case of a certain poor widow, presumably because he knows there’s nothing much in it for him. But she keeps on hounding him until finally he hears her case just to get her out of his hair (Luke 18:1-8).Even a stinker, Jesus says won’t give hi s own child a black eye when the child asks for a peanut butter and jelly so how all the more will God when his children…(Matthew 7:9-11)?
Be importunate, Jesus says—not, one assumes, because you have to beat a path to God’s door before he’ll open it, but because until you beat the path maybe there’s no way to getting to YOUR door. “Ravish my heart,” John Donne wrote. But God will not usually ravish he will only court.
Whatever else it may or may not be, prayer is at least talking to yourself, and that’s in itself not always a bad idea.Talk to yourself about your own life, about what you’ve done and what you’ve failed to do, and about who you are and about who you wish you were and who the people you love are and the people you don’t love too. Talk to yourself about what matters most to you, because if you don’t, you may forget what matters most to you. Even if you don’t believe anybody’s listening, at least you’ll be listening. Believe somebody is listening. Believe in miracles. That’s what Jesus told the father who asked him to heal his epileptic son. Jesus said, “All things are possible to him who believes. “ And the father spoke for all of us when he answered, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:14-29).
What about when the boy is not healed? When, listened to or not listened to, the prayer goes unanswered? Who knows? Just keep praying, Jesus says. Remember the sleepy friend, the crooked judge. Even if the boys dies, keep on beating the path to God’s door, because the one thing you can be sure of is that down the path you beat with even your most half-cocked and halting prayer the God you call upon will finally come, and even if he does not bring you the answer you want, he will bring you himself. And maybe at the secret heart of all prayers that is what we are really praying for.