Praying with Eyes Open

Dear Glen Mar friends,

I'm taking a few vacation days this week for much-needed rest and renewal. I'm spending a lot of quality time with Eric and the kids, and staring at big bodies of water and lots of time in prayer.

There are many ways to pray to God, and God is always more ready to hear us pray than we are to pray. But I wanted to lift up to you a couple different ways to think about prayer. Ignatian spirituality talks about prayer as apophatic or kataphatic. Apophatic prayer is prayer without words, an emptying (like centering prayer) and kataphatic is prayer with words, images, metaphors.

Eugene Peterson, quoting Annie Dillard, takes things a step further. He says apophatic prayer is "prayer with the eyes closed" - approaching a God who is "Immortal, Invisible, God only wise" as the hymn suggests. This is the way of praying most of us know. Kataphatic prayer, he says, is prayer with the eyes open, in a way, where what we see in the world can be a sort of window to God. I'm not talking about idolatry or worshipping created things. I'm talking about when we see a beautiful sunset and in it, we know we are not alone. There is a Creator and it is not "me." Time away in nature is a chance for kataphatic prayer - with eyes open - as dolphins play, and pelicans dive, or as we spend time in the ancient cathedrals of mountain ranges or even telling family stories around the family table. We can see that "God is love," and that the "heavens are telling the glory of God." (Psalm 19).

This week, why not try a little "kataphatic" prayer - prayer with the eyes open. Where do you see God's presence? Share it on Glen Mar's Facebook page-maybe with a picture!

This Sunday, I'll be preaching on the parable of the sower - and the ways our extravagant sower flings seed, like grace, and the lessons we can learn - as soil, and seed - from our sower.

See you online,
Pastor Mandy