Prayer is saying hello to a God whose name is unpronounceable. Prayer is saying hello to all. Prayer is making friends with the habit of listening and listening to our lives– the chaos and disorder, the stories we know and everything we do not know– in the presence of God.
Prayer includes the grace and gravitas of what a greeting conveys but that most of us miss. Prayer is the unmade bed and the being-made love of the lives we are co-creating this day with God. Prayer is listening to the bigger world and for the surprising stories in the presence of God. And prayer is a yearning, the honest hope that we are being listened to which makes prayer an interaction, an interplay of life, an exchange of love.
Neither I nor the poets I love found the keys to the kingdom of prayer and we cannot force God to stumble over us where we sit. But I know that it’s a good idea to sit anyway. So every morning I sit, I kneel, waiting, making friends with the habit of listening, hoping that I’m being listened to. There, I greet God in my own disorder. I say hello to my chaos, my unmade decisions, my unmade bed, my desire and my trouble. I say hello to distraction and privilege, I greet the day and I greet my beloved and bewildering Jesus. I recognise and greet my burdens, my luck, my controlled and uncontrollable story. I greet my untold stories, my unfolding story, my unloved body, my own love, my own body. I greet the things I think will happen and I say hello to everything I do not know about the day. I greet my own small world and I hope that I can meet the bigger world that day. I greet my story and hope that I can forget my story during the day, and hope that I can hear some stories, and greet some surprising stories during the long day ahead. I greet God, and I greet the God who is more God than the God I greet. / Hello to you all, I say, as the sun rises above the chimneys of North Belfast. / Hello. – Pádraig Ó Tuama
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