After all these years I am still a beginner at prayer. Still wobbling along like a novice cyclist. Still forgetting what I have learned, and despairing of ever getting good at this. But I have been reminded a couple times in recent weeks that the very stumbling and struggling is actual prayerfulness, and that the awareness of the struggle is actually a sign of growth.
Henri Nouwen observes that prayer is not something that you do. It is an openness to God, a willingness to stop and wait and receive. Prayer is simply an invitation. And in the stillness we watch and wait, we become aware of the quiet voice of love.
Prayer requires patience and discipline to just stay in that place, to resist the urge to get up and do something more useful, the temptation to grasp the first glimpse of inspiration and go and do something with it, even the desire to get busy praying for something or someone.
We watch and pray because the spirit of Christ calls us who are weary and heavy laden to come away to a quiet place, to rest in his presence, and to know his healing and hear his voice.