Writing to you today from a different state and address and with a renewed heart. I have thought often of you all and am eager to share the encouragements and gifts that have come my way this past month.
So, let’s jump right in with the following, a wonderful quote that I read earlier this week, that speaks so eloquently of what I too have found in prayer.
“We can only pray the way prayer is supposed to be when we recognize that in fact the soul is always praying.
Without stop, the soul soars and yearns for its Beloved. It is at the time of outward prayer, that the perpetual prayer of the soul reveals itself in the realm of action.
This is prayerâ€™s pleasure and joy, its glory and beauty. It is like a rose, opening its elegant petals towards the dew, facing the rays of the sun as they shine over it with the sunâ€™s light.â€*
â€”Rabbi Abraham Issac HaKohen Kook
Wouldnâ€™t it be a marvel to rest in this as true? How would our life look different to live like we believe this, to live as though we are part of a harmony, weaving in and out for our part, with our voice and our silenceâ€¦our voice and our silence. Our rising and walking, our kneeling and washing, our cooking and cleaning, our stopping and pausing, our life and our breathâ€”a prayer. I hunger for this.
The liminal space of prayer is with us everywhere we go, the adventure is to become more and more aware of it. The joy is to become more and more unified with the Spirit of God in us and in this adoring world.
He is adored. The trees praise Him, the sea roars His name, the flowers reach toward Him with earnest, the wind obeys His command. Then there is us, His crowning creation, His children frolicking or flailing in this wonderland He has given us. We, His image in the earth, are here breathing His gift of lifeâ€”sometimes knowing it, often times not.
Sometimes, when we do know it, in moments of realization we get so excited, like Peter when Jesus transfigured before him,
“His (Jesus’) face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light…then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.” (Matthew 17)
How awesome it must have been and good, like Peter said,
“Lord, it is good for us to be here…”
Can you imagine? This was a wow, wow, wow moment and Peter wanted to honor it, so he offered to build. He gets corrected and instructed to stop talking and listen. Peter fell to the ground face down afraid, but Jesus said,
“Rise and have no fear.”
“Get up and don’t be afraid.”
We too offer to build when we should behold, we speak when it’s better to listen. It’s ok, “don’t be afraid”.
“Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him. For he himself knows our frame; he is mindful that we are but dust.” (Psalm 103:13-14)
Such comfort offered us here. Such a space created for us, an invitation graciously proposed to us, to come, to rest, to be still and know, to;
“Cease striving and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our stronghold.” Selah. (Ps. 46:10-11)
A story is told about an innkeeper named Aharon Shlomo who was the simplest sort of Jew, able only to pray with great difficulty, without even knowing the meaning of the Hebrew words he would pray. He was, however, very devout and had a custom of continually uttering in every situation and circumstance: “Blessed is He forever and ever!” His wife, Zlateh Rivkah, also had this habit, continually saying: “Blessed be His holy name!”. Although their hands were at work, they placed their hearts toward God by repeating these sentences.
One day a young rabbi stayed at their inn. His name was Israel and he had been given opportunity to learn complex prayers from great rabbis. Israel, went outside, devoting himself to praying these complex meditations he had been taught when he was visited again with a word from heaven, “You are struggling with such effort…but Aharon the innkeeper and Zlateh his wife know nothing about (these kinds of prayers)…yet, their simple utterances make all the worlds tremble.”
This experience transformed the young, and one day great, rabbi’s attitude toward prayer. He came to believe and taught that simple, childlike devotion is the key to entering the presence of one’s Father in Heaven.**
Today, may we come like little children, may we work with our hands and put our hearts toward God through the quieting of our hearts, the choosing to be unafraid, lifting our eyes to behold and our ears to listen.
May we know that the threshold of prayer is always welcome to us, is always the realest reality, the truest true. Prayer is a continual feast before us, and a place to become clean again. May we know that we live in a world that adores Him, and join the song…with our voice and our silence.
This is how to pray continually. Amen.
Praising His faithfulness and Seeking Him with you today friends,
Raynna, for the whole family
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*(Olat Reâ€™iyah vol. I, p.11) from Rabbi Abraham Issac HaKohen Kook
(**Story paraphrased from The Light and Fire of the Baal Shem Tov by Yitzhak Buxbaum, pages 27-29)
This article was first published at www.martyrscross.com/blog, Also published at: