In a recent post I mentioned that “we must air our hearts out, hang them up to dry in a desert of prayer that it may become sanctified.”
I realize that this image may not make sense because we often envision prayer as a nice juicy orange that is refreshing, full of flavor, and life and joy. Deserts don’t often communicate that refreshing feeling. They are hot, dry, and lifeless. Yet, a desert of prayer is exactly what we need.
God desires for us to know him
As St. Irenaeus says in one the liturgical readings this week:
The Father’s purpose in revealing the Son was to make himself known to us all and so to welcome into eternal rest those who believe in him, establishing them in justice, preserving them from death. To believe in him means to do his will.
Against Heresies by St. Irenaeus
Jesus Christ came so that we could know and do the will of God. How, then, do we know what the will of God is? It consists of making for ourselves a desert of prayer. This means carving out a space where we can find refuge and peace from worldly things. This takes discipline and may actually be the most difficult part of prayer. We must find time to escape the hustle and bustle, the appointments, all of the tasks we must accomplish. We must find time to escape from drowning in the waste of television, idle chatter, endless video and computer games, and pointless social networking. We must simply abandon the wealth and riches of the world for a desert of nothing. Nothing that is, except for God.
It also means abandoning ourselves. It means forsaking everything that we selfishly cling to or desire. It means putting our wills aside so that we can listen for the quiet voice of the Lord and hear what he has to say. It means giving up our preconceived and often deep-seated notions of what is good and true to really listen to what God is revealing to our hearts. It often means starting over, starting fresh. It takes a lot of sacrifice to do such a thing. But if we truly desire to know God and to do his will, it is worth it.
So today, make the decision.
Do I really want to know who God is and learn his will and then obey his will?
Am I ready to take seriously the command to pray always (1 Thess. 5:17) and treasure it in my heart?
I hope that you are.
More to come shortly.