A Primer on Mormon Prayer: Abiding

You know the feeling: you’re hungry for God.

Your soul, restless, can find no rest. Your pillow’s warm on both sides.

You’ve tried a thousand and one things, stuffed a thousand and one things down that maw, and it’s never enough. You’re still hungry for more.

It’s the truth. “You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”

Sin is the hope you vest in that next one last thing. Sin is the last hope you vest, hopeless, in at least the hungry busy work of stalling.

So there’s prayer. Prayer can be undertaken in one of two ways: as a means to an end or as an end in itself, as an aid to life or as the substance of living.

There’s nothing wrong with undertaking prayer as a means to an end, as an aid to life, except that it will not satisfy. It can ease, facilitate, bless, and even cure – all good things – but it cannot save.

Salvation depends on this conversio: prayer, rather than being part of what you do when you get up in the morning, must become the reason you get up in the morning. Pray, rather than being a means to your life, must become your life’s end. Flipped, you still do some of what you did, but you do it as a prayer. Even prayer!

Nothing is more liberating than discovering that even prayers can be offered as a prayer.

This turn may be gradual or hairpinned. But the rest of the Lord – that spreading stillness, that freedom from the madhat tyranny of your self-absorption, that massive, weightless halo, that eye in the Lord’s whirlwind – opens only in such self-emptying.

Prayer must become the point upon which every hour converges, the navel of every thought, the pole from which all lines spread and to which all lines return.

Prayer, rather than being one more half-remembered way of pleading and fleeing and forgetting, ABIDES.

Don’t forget to pray.

2 comments for “A Primer on Mormon Prayer: Abiding

  1. July 6, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Adam, I’m surprised this post hasn’t elicited any response yet. I love the image of a speeding stillness that I have experienced at times in my life.

  2. July 6, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Spreading stillness that is.

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