Lent is a time for prayer. On Ash Wednesday the Gospel reading calls to prayer afresh with these words from Matthew 6 v 6.
When you pray go into your room and shut the door……
But prayer never feels as simple as that! It is so easy to be discouraged, to feel that our prayers are dry and empty, words that go unheard and have no effect.
Yesterday in our Lent prayer group we heard these wonderfully encouraging words from Mother Julian of Norwich about how God sees our prayers. Alongside them is a photo of some beautiful Hellebores which I found in my garden hidden under a pile of dead leaves. They brought to life these words of Mother Julian for me. What may seem dry and dead to me is in fact precious and beautiful in God’s sight. That prayer is not about feeling, but faith, not about me, but all about God.
Mother Julian on Perseverance in Prayer
From Revelations of Divine Love
Our prayer brings great joy and gladness
to our Lord.
He wants it and awaits it.
So he says this, “Pray inwardly,
even though you find no joy in it.
For it does good, though you feel nothing,
yes, even though you think
you cannot pray.
For when you are dry and empty,
sick and weak,
your prayers please me, though there be little enough to please you.
All believing prayer is precious to me.”
God accepts the good-will
and work of his servants,
no matter how we feel.