Prayer is not an academic exercise. Prayer is a mysterious way of calling ourselves to action. I’ve been considering this phenomenon since this post about the contemplative response to the tragedy of the Boston marathon bombing. There were several emails to me about how slow a response this way would be. How could the world function if people responded this silently? So please, let me clarify.
- If I am changed by prayer, that change will eventually lead me to take action. However, the action will be born from the deepest places of my soul; the places where I reflect God most accurately.
- The actions will be from pure motives, namely from my experience of God. I will have sat in silence through my most base responses so that I can act from holier spaces in myself.
- I see many actions throughout my day that leave me wondering if prayer could have possibly played any part in the decision to act. Is that judgmental on my part? Maybe. But Jesus assured us that a tree is known by the fruit it bears. If our actions do not speak of the Spirit living in and changing us, what kind of tree are we?
- At the same time, prayer that never leads to any action is not true prayer.
- The action that my prayer calls me to is likely to be small, personally challenging, and quiet. In my experience, I have not been called to action that is for the media’s attention. Instead, I’ve been called to love my neighbor by responding with kindness when their fence has been laying on my roses, again. I’ve been called to look for the motivation behind my children’s defiance and to respond with loving firmness instead of anger.
What are the fruits of your prayer? What kind of tree do they mark you as?