New Ways of Praying

I learnt to swim in a swimming pool at high school. Since that time swimming has been a regular part of my exercise regime. After decades of swimming alone, I joined a swimming class with a professional coach. From those sessions, I discovered that science, research, and experience have inspired advanced swimming techniques. Acquiring these new techniques posed a major challenge and struggle. To do so involves mentally deconstructing old paradigm lodged deep in the muscle memory, reconstruct the new paradigm, and store the new information in the muscle memory. To achieve this new goal, I realized that I needed to befriend consistency and persistence.

Growth in the spiritual life is similar. New circumstances of life and new experiences question and challenge the old paradigm of relating to God. For example, as a child we were introduced to fixed prayers and devotions.  These ways of praying relate to predetermined circumstances of life such as prayer before meals. As we mature, life throws us innumerable circumstances which fixed prayers and devotions may not address. 

To shift from a reliance on fixed prayers to spontaneous prayers, or prayers of the heart, requires trust in abandoning the dependence on the crutches, cane or walker of fixed prayers and learning to stand on the feet of prayers of the heart. To do so requires deconstructing the mindset that I can’t stand alone without the crutches, and believing that the feet of spontaneous prayers, though clumsy and awkward in the beginning, can be learnt with practice.

When our way of praying is no longer adequate in response to new circumstances, it signifies we’ve arrived at a plateau in our relationship with God. The plateau is an invitation to rest, regroup, and relearn new ways of praying to continue the ascent to God. 

New circumstances…new ways of praying.

3 thoughts on “New Ways of Praying

  1. Father, Thank you so much for this reflection. It is so timely. Over the weekend I attended the People of Praise Conference and attended a workshop titled “Uncommon Prayer”. I am aware that my old way of praying is no longer effective and that I am struggling to develop a meaningful relationship with God through prayer. I feel so awkward and inadequate when I hear other people pray and I am fumbling to find the right words. I will persevere and continue being spontaneous.

    God’s Blessings Martina

    All things are lessons God will have you learn Marianne Williamson


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