Prayer candles

Image by Flickr user mendhak, licensed under Creative Commons.

 

Doubts about prayer

Between action and contemplation

I have never felt comfortable praying. I almost feel I should put the word in quotes, as I'm never quite sure that what I do deserves the name. I have a little litany of stations through which I move—thank you, help me, be with, forgive—but mostly I simply (simply!) try and subject myself to the possibility of God. I address God as if.

"We must believe in the real God in every way," says Simone Weil, "except that he does not exist, for we have not reached the point where he might exist." I understand this to mean not that if we achieve some state worthy of God, he will pop into being like a genie, but that devotion to God, for modern believers, inevitably means learning to inhabit, rather than simply trumping with dogma or literal scripture, those elements of our existence that seem inimical to his: limitedness, contingency, suffering, death.

 

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