I think this is my final comment on Barbara Brown Taylor’s ‘spiritual practices’ in An Altar in the World – at least for now, but I really like some of what she says about prayer which she identifies as the ‘practice of being present to God’.
I have picked out two great comments.
First, she says: "I would rather show someone my cheque book stubs than talk about my prayer life. I would rather confess that I am a rotten godmother, that I struggle with my weight, that I fear I am overly fond of Bombay Sapphire gin martinis than confess that I am a prayer-weakling. To say I love God but I do not pray much is like saying I love life but I do not breathe much. The only way I have found to survive my shame is to come at the problem from both sides, exploring two distinct possibilities: 1) that prayer is more than my idea of prayer and 2) that some of what I actually do in my life may constitute genuine prayer."
And again: "... prayer is not the same thing as prayers. ... Saying psalms in the morning is a good way to head into the day more prayerfully. So is going to church, where I can add my voice to those of a whole congregation aiming to woo God's ears with their ancient, beautiful cadences. Still, prayer is more than saying set prayers at set times. Prayer ... is waking up to the presence of God no matter where I am or what I am doing."
There is really no more that I want to say, other than to recognise that she is summing up much of what I also see as the opportunity, the struggle, the excitement and the possibility of prayer.