Monday, July 18, 2011

Rowan Williams on the Time God Gives Us in Prayer

During a recent visit to Grendon, an experimental therapeutic facility for convicted criminals in the U.K., one prisoner asked Archbishop Rowan Williams how he copes with the enormous media attention his position draws, particularly in the case of something like the royal wedding. His response:
"It's about the habits you try to form: making time every day to be quiet with God. That's what I am answerable to. It's very important to settle yourself and to remind myself that this is time God gives me, not just time I give to God. For me [prayer] is a matter of trying to a clear a space in my head."

He talked about this daily prayer in the most careful, practical way, almost as if it was therapy: "Breathe regularly, sit upright, breathe, and say some simple words. I will often say 'Lord have mercy' slowly, at intervals, and just let it settle into my stomach. It doesn't always seem to work. Sometime I can be there for half an hour and the thoughts just go galloping round like horses in the Grand National. Then I have to remind myself that this is time God gives to me, and not just time I give to God." Then, still in the same matter of fact way, he said: "You are trying to open the cellar door and be aware of the darkness underneath the water."
H/T: Jason

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