Prayer, as the psalms make clear, embraces all aspects of our human condition. Words of intercession and praise contrast with meditation and contemplation and what is referred to as the journey into the silent land. Prayer takes us deeper into ourselves, into our world and into God. Prayers of comfort and peace stand alongside prayers that challenge. The challenging aspect of prayer is one I have recently reflected on in revisiting Ken Leech’s classic book on spiritual direction, ‘Soul Friend’. In his chapter ‘Towards a prophetic understanding of spiritual direction’ he says:
“Vision and clear insight are the fruits of contemplation, and they are vital. At heart, the contemplative is one who sees clearly, sees with the eyes of God, the clear light which shines in the emptiness of the human spirit. It is clear vision which enables the truly spiritual person to see beneath the surface of events, to see through the illusion and the phoney claims of human systems, to see beyond the immediate and the transient to the reality. Consequently the contemplative is more of a threat to injustice than the social activist who merely sees the piecemeal need. For contemplative vision is revolutionary vision…”
Whether we are directing others in prayer, being supported, or just getting on with trying to pray ourselves, may we, through our prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, be helped to see the world through the eyes of God and play our part in transforming it.
The Ven Simon Hill
Archdeacon of Taunton