background image

Significato Journal
Subscribe to our FREE E-Newsletter!
 
Normal Version Print Version

Gerald May - The Process of Prayer

~ A quote from Shalem News, Winter, 1984

Mar 16, 2018

“Sometimes, instead of praying, I find myself thinking about praying; evaluating how I’m praying, figuring out what is proper or most effective. While these mental gymnastics may be well intentioned, and in fact have some real value as reflections before or after prayer, their effect during prayer is to keep me from really praying. They keep me in the mind and out of the heart.

As long as attention resides solely in the mind, we may spend our time producing scenes in which images of ourselves pray to images of God. This can become very effortful and can lead to a kind of “pretending” at prayer. Real prayer requires at least an attempt to leave such mental struggles and allow our attention to sink deeply, simply, and nakedly into the heart. Bringing attention to the heart is not a complicated process, but it does take real intention and courage. It involves a gentle, steady and wakeful willingness to let ourselves be just who we are before God and to let God be just how God will be within us. This demands no special generation of images. Nothing need be contrived or censored. It is a disarmingly simple matter of relaxing and allowing whatever we really feel, perceive, want or fear to surface as it will. It is seldom easy and sometimes impossible to be successful at this, but the attempt needs to be made.

Courage is necessary because what we experience at this heart level may be so painful, boring, frightening, or beautiful we can hardly bear it, and the deeper perceptions of “me” and God that emerge may be threateningly unlike our usual mental images. To remain in the heart and permit such a fierce and simple honesty is the real work of prayer.”  – Gerald May, 1940-2005


Gerald May was the author of The Wisdom of Wilderness: Experiencing the Healing Power of Nature, The Dark Night of the Soul: A Psychiatrist Explores the Connection Between Darkness and Spiritual Growth, Addiction and Grace, and other titles. He facilitated workshops on psychology and spirituality. Interestingly, he was the younger half-brother of the author and existential psychologist, Rollo May. 

Posted by Kimmy Sophia Brown

Image(s) from Wikimedia Commons

Did you like what you read?

If so, leave a Tip, below, and join the ranks of our Renaissance Patrons!
>> Read More about becoming a Renaissance Patron

Standard
Patron
Contribution

Select Amount on the Next Page

Recurring Patron
Contribution


Select a Monthly Amount from the
DropDown List Below


Recurring Patron Levels



(Comments are moderated and must be approved.)
comments powered by Disqus

More Headlines of Interest

“The Epiphany of Zebediah Clump”
Watch our first film right here.
logo
Feel good about life and feed your soul some vittles...
from the columns and essays of Significato.
Transport your soul...
by curling up with a short story or poem.
Increase your bliss and nourish your soul...
with tidbits on nature, music, books, films, health and writings from bygone days.
Feel good about life...
Become a Significato Journal Renaissance Patron
Liquid Web Dedicated Servers
Help end child hunger