We conclude this lesson on prayer today. We've been looking at prayer from a different starting point. Instead of beseeching God to do things for us (even good, noble, selfless things), our starting point has been Jesus' teaching about Truth setting us free. From that starting point, our prayer practices look different, and the results in our lives are different. Today we conclude by considering the benefits that accrue to us as we take on this different kind of prayer practice.
In this second-to-last week of this lesson reconsidered prayer we talk about what happens to us when we take on the soul-quieting, truth-seeking, freedom-finding, prayer practices we've been talking about. And sure enough... our souls find increased freedom.... we see and respond to the world around us differently. We finish up with the practical pointer of finding a way of this different kind of prayer that is a fit for the unique fingerprint of each of our souls.
Today, as we continue our lesson rethinking prayer, we come to the mindset necessary for this "seeking-Truth" way of praying. Self-discipline is necessary to this new way, but that term falls on hard times for many Christians. We've tried and tried to be disciplined with our prayer practices, but they returned so little to our souls. This lesson talks about applying discipline in such a way that it returns an elevated understanding of Truth, awakens us to the Divine Presence that is always in and around us, and answers to the yearning to see the Divine in our daily lives.
As we're rethinking prayer as opening ourselves to truth and freedom, we turn now to some of the foundations of the practice. We are easily distracted by small truths and by lesser concerns, to the point that we suffocate out the big thoughts, the life-making thoughts that transform us into Divine likeness. So we begin look at the prayers of the desert fathers and mothers, and the prayers of the ancient Celts.
We think of prayer as asking God to do something. That's not the kind of prayer we're going to be discussing. We're talking about prayer in light of Jesus' teaching that "we will know the Truth, and the Truth will set us free." It creates a very different perspective.
I thought about titling this message "Don't Waste Your Time Praying" (since I just did a lesson titled "Don't Waste Your Time Going To Church"), but that's not exactly what this lesson is about. When our images of God change as we progress on the spiritual journey, our ways of praying have to morph as well. I've noted that for many Christians, as this metamorphosis happens in their souls, they simply stop praying. I'm hoping that this lesson will restore to us, lives of prayer that are relevant, useful, and helpful.