Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of February 18, 2008

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Commitment to Prayer

(Part 4 of 9 in the Inner Work Series: The Stages of Prayer)

To improve at any endeavor takes practice, regular practice. To keep at something day after day, week after week, usually means that it gives some benefit, either now or in the future, either to our self or to others. Prayer offers profound benefits in all those categories. So it draws us and we respond to its gentle call. As we enter more regularly and more deeply into prayer, it becomes part of our life, part of us, like a friend that never wavers. Through that repeated choice to pray, our commitment grows. Without quite knowing how it happened, we wake up one day and realize that we are irreversibly, happily and gratefully committed to the regular practice of prayer.

That commitment, that reliable and welcome impulse to seek and to serve God through prayer, comes from and through our core, our I, from beyond consciousness. So though we may not be able to articulate just why we pray, why we seek God, we know we will persist in prayer, today and into the future. This is our choice, one that we trust ourselves to make again and again.

Commitment to prayer, however, means more than just being regular in its practice. It also means committing to quality, to the search for depth in prayer. Whenever we pray, we look to being present throughout the prayer session, to being whole-hearted and undistracted in the prayer, to being less self-centered in our motivation, to enhancing the subtlety of our perceptions, and to giving ourselves more fully to the Sacred. This is the practice of prayer that evolves as we do.

The stage of committing ourselves to the regular, deepening practice of prayer is a necessary step on the path of prayer. And though it may seem mundane, it is not. Its greatest significance lies in the depths of our will. Commitment is an action of will, of who we truly are. And our will ultimately derives from our God-given freedom, from our personal share of the Divine Will. So commitment to prayer is itself an intimate connection with the Sacred, a means by which the Higher acts in and through us. Each occasion of honoring our commitment by an act of prayer reinforces that connection, rightly evoking joy and offering solace, as we once again approach the sacred Presence.

Hand in hand with our commitment to prayer comes a commitment to the spirit and a life of integrity and service. For this week, take a step into the transformation of your inner life by recommitting yourself to the regular and deepening practice of prayer.


     

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