I have been trying to write this journal entry for over a week now. I have started and stopped several times, and eventually erased all of them because I never liked where they were heading. The topic is about prayer, and none of the words I can find seem to describe what I am going through adequately.
I have reached a point in my prayer life where I want more; or rather, something more is required of me. I am not sure exactly what, but I think I am looking for a more meaningful, deeper, spiritual connection with God.
I pray often during the course of a day. (Usually a long, personal prayer in the morning and another in the evening, plus a bunch of little, one-liners during the day.) I try my best to touch upon each of the four types of prayers: supplication, thanksgiving, contrition, adoration. I like the way the Mystic Cowboy described how a minister once called the four types of prayer as: Gimme, Thanks, Oops, and Wow! Different times of the day and different situations tend to call on certain types of prayers.
There are other types of prayer that are best described by there purpose: public or communial prayer, private prayer, prayer for meditation, and praying the scripture.
Kallistos Ware, an Orthodox bishop, describes three other types of prayer based on how “interpenetrating” they are: prayer of the lips (oral prayer); prayer of the nous, of the mind or the intellect (prayer of the mind); and prayer of the heart (or the intellect in the heart). Each of these types of prayer are best described as levels or stages of how deep the prayer reaches in or penetrates.
It is this prayer of the heart that I think I am searching for. It has something to do with the Jesus’ Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me. I am reading up on it, praying on it, and will post more later.
C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity, probably gives one of the best descriptions of what really happens when one prays:
An ordinary simple Christian kneels down to say his prayers. He is trying to get into touch with God. But if he is a Christian he knows that what is prompting him to pray is also God: God, so to speak, inside him. But he also knows that all his real knowledge of God comes from Christ, the Man who was God—that Christ is standing beside him, helping him to pray, praying for him. You see what is happening. God is the thing to which he is praying—the goal he is trying to reach. God is also the thing inside him which is pushing him on—the motive power. God is also the road or bridge along which he is being pushed to that goal. So that the whole threefold life of the three-person Being is actually going on in that ordinary little bedroom where an ordinary man is saying his prayers. The man is being caught up into the higher kinds of life—what I call… spiritual life: he is being pulled into God, by God, while still remaining himself.
Wow! Now I fully understand the part of the prayer made during the Eucharist celebration, “Through Him, With Him, In Him.”