We can never truly pray as individuals if we are completely set apart from the world. We only seek silence so we can take that silence into the noise and we only seek solitude so we can take it into community and we only seek love so we can take it into hurt and destruction. We pray alone so we may enter the accompaniment of others. We practice our solo part to take it to other parts.
If prayer is effective for our self alone it runs the risk of diminishing in faith because it loses its object of relevance, which is others. Prayer only for, and with oneself is sure to become a short and boring prayer. If it doesn’t it speaks of a selfishness that is blinding the one praying. Prayer needs to leave its source with great faith and determination. It is dangerous to stay enclosed longer than necessary in prayer. When we do there is the temptation of escape, hiding and even fear. True prayer is explained by the wisdom of the turtle; he knows when to stick his neck out and when to stay in the shell. True prayer prompts us to stick our neck out at the right time.
When it appears that everything is just right to go wrong…we stick our necks out…we pray to make it right.
Jesus, give me true meditation in the shell and true prayer for others when I come out.
“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.” Jesus