Lebh Shomea as "School of Prayer"


Lord, teach us to pray... (Lk 11:1).

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Much can be said or written about prayer. One can speak of schools or traditions of prayer (e.g., Benedictine, Ignatian, Carmelite). One can explore various methods of prayer (e.g., centering, yoga, lectio divina). One can learn about forms or movements of prayer (e.g., charismatic, liturgical, Jesus Prayer). There is truly a history and a theology of prayer.

Although much of this "about prayer" remains useful and in some instances necessary, it still does not equal actually praying.

In its deepest sense, to pray is to remain in loving receptivity to being loved by one's Beloved. To pray is to be lured into intimate loving communion with and by Father, Son and Spirit -- the soul letting itself be drawn consciously and freely. Only God can pray someone and thereby cause that person to pray in return.

Thus, one can be taught about prayer, but one learns to pray only by praying. And that experience is divine gift, grace.

Lebh Shomea as school of prayer then is above all a milieu in which praying takes place in a very intense manner. It is a physical place, a veritable desert into which God leads persons in order to be alone with the indwelling Trinity (Lk 5:16; Ho 2:16). There God teaches them to pray (Lk 11:1).