Wednesday, February 01, 2006

it had to happen sooner or later

To date, I have refrained from posting anything overtly spiritual in nature on this site because I think everyone (myself included) has his or her own way of figuring out and dealing with spirituality and religion...and everyone deserves the right to do so on their own terms without unwanted interference. That being said, this is my blog, these are the things I think about on a day to day basis, and they constitute a large part of who I am. So, if you feel as if you might need a little spiritual feeding today (or at least something to think about), keep reading...and if not, no worries: just sit this one out and catch the next post.

I came across an article written by The Rev. Ben Campbell about the nature of prayer that I found extraordinary. Ben runs Richmond Hill, an ecumenical retreat center in a converted convent here in Richmond's Church Hill (the old part of the city, just down the street from St. John's Episcopal Church where Patrick Henry delivered his "Give me liberty, or give me death" speech). I've met Ben a couple of times - he's incredibly involved in community outreach in Richmond, especially across racial divides. Very energetic and centered in a way that makes you feel as if you've known him for years. All in all, a brilliant guy...and it doesn't hurt that he sounds strikingly like Johnny Cash.

Anyway, the article appeared on the cover of Richmond Hill's January newsletter. This is the paragraph I find most compelling:

"There are many points at which prayer can become rote, superficial, or deflected, but this point is one of the most deceptive. When we pray for the salvation, healing, and transformation of people's lives, nations, and histories, we are not asking God to do something he does not want to do. We are rather aligning ourselves with what we already know is God's will - his love of each human being in particular and of humanity in general. We are praying with God more than we are praying to him."

The concept of intercessory prayer as "alignment" is not one I'd thought about before. It makes more sense to me than the idea of asking God for things that seem obvious and unnecessary (as if God doesn't get it and we have to ask in order to call it to his attention). There are several other interesting bits later in the article, and I definitely recommend the full text if you have the time and inclination to read it.

1 comment:

Alyssa said...

I liked your blog today. Well, I always like it but I was not put off by the spiritual talk. I read an article in Style Weekly a few years ago about Richmond Hill and remember being very intrigued.....