Day 239: An Offering As Prayer

August 26th, 2010

“Prayer is not a way of making use of God; prayer is a way of offering ourselves to God in order that He should be able to make use of us. It may be that one of our great faults in prayer is that we talk too much and listen too little. When prayer is at its highest we wait in silence for God’s voice to us….” -William Barclay

I am trying to not just pray like this, but live like it, too. I want to come to my life even when I don’t like how it is going and offer what I have, feel full enough of myself to be of service, to let life lead me. I rarely think of my life or work as an offering, which really even if you aren’t religious is the most we can hope for ourselves. Is money, recognition and status bigger than the willingness to show up and offer yourself up to the people and work you care about.

Some days it feels like it is and my ability to offer is deeply compromised by unmet needs and resistance to things as they are. I feel shortchanged, unappreciated and invisible. I am looking for something out there to validate me and its absence turns my capacity for offering to stone.

The best days are when I am full enough to let go and stop quantifying the exchange. I am able to be fully present and I have humility, which is really an inner reverence for the way things are. This is a listening place that I am trying to cultivate not only in meditation but in life. It is not an easy place for me to hold onto. I am often an impatient listener, filling in the silence with what I believe will come next. Even if I am right, speaking for someone else changes the message.

In prayer it is only in the listening that an answer comes. There is no asking for how things should be for us, there is just the very quiet voice that speaks when we are silent and patient to guide us. This last weekend on the beach, I heard it. I hear it still as I am trying to make my work an offering rather than an opportunity to meet my own needs. The prayer echoed “it is purpose not position” that you are seeking.

Trying to find my way within the map of these few words is a little like using the north star in the middle of the ocean. Even in the blackest night, I know the difference between purpose and position and which one can be an offering.

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