In the integration of the sacred and profane I am struck by the relative ease with which we are able to pray when everything is going well for us. Prayer becomes a “chore” when we are down, in pain, or suffering loss. In the midst of the gray, unpleasant, and unwanted events of life prayer does not come easily. For that very reason it may be more powerful and transcendent at such times.
The full horror of what lay before You was transcended by Your will to pray to Your Father in the garden. The height of all that is profane did not overcome You but was overcome by You in a sacred moment of self-transcendence that would continue all the way to the cross. Our attitude itself in times of crisis can be a prayer when words are too hard to find. When we are “in control” it’s easy to pray. But when we are not in control of what’s happening to us, or what’s happening around us – when we are in chaos and cannot muster the ability to reach out to God because He seems, at such times, to be so distant, is when we should realize that prayer becomes the ability to “let go and let God.” What’s needed is not just to say, “I’m so upset that I just can’t talk to You now,” but rather to let it go and simply and trustingly say, “I put it all in Your hands.”
I believe that Your measure of our skill in prayer has nothing to do with the number of words we use or, for that matter, with skill at all. What You read in the midst of the profane, in the midst of chaos, in the midst of the toughest times, even when we don’t “touch base” with You, is our hearts. Our being and its direction are inscribed by our hearts. Our prayer is where our heart is.