Why is it that I am completely unembarrassed to sin, but I feel such great reluctance to speak to others of prayer? Why is it?
The other day a family for whom I have been praying were in great distress. One of their children was in urgent need and they were so afraid that they were beside themselves with worry. And so, I began to pray for their child and for them too.
There is really nothing new about my praying for others. I have done this quite naturally since I was a little girl when my mother used to direct all the children in our family each morning in the car on the way to school to join her in praying for various intentions for various people. And so, since my conversion of faith last year – which occurred through Grace and no merit of my own while I was praying for my beautiful little niece who was very sick – I have begun to actually tell people when I am praying for them...
Before my conversion it would have been simply too embarrassing to talk about my Beloved in that way. It was too embarrassing to speak of Him or acknowledge Him or say His name out in the world that He created. Before my conversion I hid Him quietly in my heart like a secret. In the past, I often prayed fervently for people who were dear to me but I never spoke about it and never told them.
And the other day, when I realised what I have always considered normal in my life before, I came to a terrible realisation! And I have been reflecting on this terrible realisation for a few weeks now.
You see, I have found it genuinely quite embarrassing to talk to other people about praying, and in the past I have long accepted that this embarrassment, and this silence in prayer is an ordinary part of life. And yet, now it occurs to me now that it is in fact an illusion of the Evil One.
After all, it is simply contrary-wise – no matter how comfortable it may feel.
I mean, just consider all the things that do NOT embarrass me… I am not ashamed to take the Lord’s name in vain, abandon the holiness of the Sabbath, fail to honour my father and mother, gossip, swear, lie, covet, and all other manner of other shameful things. In all things unholy, it seems that there is no shame. Instead – through the snares of the Evil One – there seems to be acceptance and comradery and collusion. When we sin, we are often surrounded by other sinners and therefore feel that we are part of the crowd. Why else would parents warn their children of the dangers of “peer pressure”?
How contrary-wise… In all those shameful things I feel quite at home, but in this HOLY thing, I could be embarrassed…
I cast off the opinion of others while I sin, but for an instant before I speak of God to someone else, I think to myself… But what will they think of me? I will sound pushy, or daggy, or silly or insane.
There is a moment – just before that moment of mercy to another soul – where the temptation to be silent is so strong, that it takes such an act of courage to speak up that it is surely only possible through the Strength of God Himself who speaks through our souls from His fathomless abyss of mercy…
And so, as I consider the terrible injustice that I have done to my God – by worrying about the judgement of others and not HIS HOLY JUDGEMENT instead – I hang my head in shame… For there is truly so much work for me still to do.
So very much work!
For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.