July 11, 2018
Abandonment and Despair
July 11, 2018
The following is an excerpt from Henri Nouwen’s Uncensored Prayer:
“Prayer, first of all, is crying out to God from our heart. ‘Give ear to my words, O Lord, and consider my sighing’ is a prayer from the heart. ‘Listen to my cry for help, my King, and my God, for to you do I pray’ (Psalm 5:1-2).
…Our inclination is to reveal to God only what we feel comfortable in sharing. Naturally, we want to love and be loved by God, but we also want to keep a little corner of our inner life for ourselves, where we can hide and think our own secret thoughts, dream our own dreams, and play with our own mental fabrications. We are often tempted to select carefully the thoughts that we bring into our conversation with God.
What makes us so stingy? Maybe we wonder if God can take all that goes on in our minds and hearts. Can God accept our hateful thoughts, our cruel fantasies, and our bizarre dreams? Can God handle our primitive urges, our inflated illusions, and our exotic mental castles? This withholding from God of a large part of our thoughts leads us onto a road that we probably would never consciously want to take. It is the road of spiritual censorship—editing out all the fantasies, worries, resentments, and disturbing thoughts we do not wish to share with anyone, including God, who sees and knows all.
The more we dare to show our whole trembling self to God, as did the ancients who prayed the Psalms, the more we will be able to sense that God’s love, which is perfect love, casts out our fears, purifies our thoughts, and heals our hatred.”
QUESTIONS FOR THE FIELD
- Consider these questions below as you reread the psalm.
- Is there a promise to claim?
- Is there a lesson to learn?
- Is there a blessing to enjoy?
- Is there a command to obey?
- Is there a sin to avoid?
- Is there a new thought to carry with me?
Sweet Lord, breathe into my reluctance to confess all that I am to you. I long to be completely known and loved, warts and all, right down to the core of my being! You are already there! Grant me the courage, the humility and the desire to join you. Amen.