Week 3: Prayer as a Way of Life
The Revelations of Divine Love by English anchoress Julian of Norwich is our book of the month. In this spiritual classic, Lady Julian explains why prayer is a good and necessary part of life.
I am drawn to the ways Julian speaks of prayer, always emphasizing our radical dependence on God. I also like the two metaphors she uses in the first passage below – prayer is like an arrow and prayer is like a shelter. These metaphors seem so different, yet they work together to describe the gift of communing with God.
For prayer is like an arrow shot straight toward joy’s completion in Heaven—and prayer is also like a shelter that covers us with the knowledge that we can trust God to grant all for which we yearn. When we fall short of the joy that has been laid out for us, we are filled with longing; but as we cover ourselves with the knowledge of God’s love and with sweet thoughts of our Rescuer, then we are granted the gift of confidence in God’s firm integrity.
For our part, we must take care to always lovingly choose prayer as a way of life. We may still feel as though we have accomplished nothing—but in reality (whether we can see it or not), we have. And if we do what we can and ask with constancy and faithfulness for mercy and grace, then all that we lack we shall find in God.
Prayer makes the soul one with God. Our souls are like God in their essence, and they are connected to God with bonds of kinship—yet because of sin, our way of being is often not much like God’s. That is why we need to use prayer as an affirmation that our souls are aligned with the Divine Will. What’s more, prayer comforts our uneasy consciences and becomes a conduit for grace to flow into us.
Julian of Norwich (1342 – c. 1416) was an English visionary, mystic, anchoress, and writer. Read about her here.
I’ve been enjoying the Divine Revelations in a modern translation entitled All Shall Be Well.