matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, February 1, 2014
God? Wooing Me?
The other day, I prayed using an excellent book on spiritual direction and prayer that I’ve mentioned before. (The author is the Rev. Martin Smith, a skilled spiritual director and now a retired Episcopal priest. His book The Word Is Very Near You is subtitled A Guide to Praying with Scripture.) As I read several pages, he gave the example of prayer using virtually any passage of Scripture, from the Old as well as the New Testament.
Sure, it’s easy to pray using the Gospels, or the Epistles, or Psalms. And, Proverbs and the historical books of the Hebrew Scriptures can be used for prayer with a minimum of difficulty. However, Fr. Martin gave an example from Song of Songs. I must admit, I have not even looked at Song of Songs for at least ten years. Not since I read the whole Bible cover to cover. (I’ve done this five times. True. Not as many as some prayer- and Scripture-reading giants I know, but still. I got a really great overview of the whole Bible because I did this.)
The verses that were suggested were 2:10-11. I looked at the two verses, and considered. Reflected. Okay, I thought. Fr. Martin suggested it, so I’ll give this a try. Accordingly, I settled down and prepared myself for a time of prayer and meditation.
The thoughts that gradually came into my head were deep and loving. Wow, God. You want to woo me into a relationship with You! Really? Really?? I’m not used to that kind of language from You, God. I know—that is, I think I am in a relationship with You, already. But by meditating on these verses, I get the sense that God wants to show me another facet of relationship. Perhaps, draw me deeper, into a whole new level. The companionship, the easy rapport. Is that it? Is that what God wants me to begin to understand?
I’ll need to get used to this idea, God. I’m not dismissing it, no! Never! Just getting used to it, that’s all.
Let’s pray. Dear God, thanks for the suggestion to pray using Song of Songs. (Fr. Martin has such excellent ideas!) God, please forgive me for doubting You, for being hesitant to think of You in such realistic, down-to-earth terms. Thanks for your boundless, deep, generous love for me—for us. Help us to be so aware of Your love for us that we naturally show love for one another. In Your mercy, God, hear our prayer.