I recently read this sentence: "I am awesome at prayer because I love people and I know God loves me." I think I almost stopped breathing. Do I feel this way about prayer? Do I even have the courage to ask to feel this way about prayer? The sentence came from "Everything I Can Do" in America magazine, and was written by Joey Kane. Joey has Down syndrome and is a rising senior at John F. Kennedy High School in Burien, Washington. I think Joey knows a lot more about prayer, and a lot of other things, than I do.
It seems from his sentence that Joey experiences prayer, rather more than judge it, like I want to do. Too often I am busy asking questions: Am i praying right? Shouldn't I be praying better? How should I pray? When should I pray? What should I pray with? And I am ashamed to say I almost never really consider the way prayer impacts how and who I love. I think perhaps Master Ignatius would say the bad spirit is thrilled with my proclivity to judge my prayer. After all, evaluating prayer keeps me from praying. The serpent shakes its tail.
I still can't quite bring myself to say I am awesome at prayer. But like Joey, I love people and I love God. I can recognize that prayer, like all other things, is a gift from our loving, generous God. And I know it is an awesome gift. Maybe that can be enough for me. At least until I grow to know what Joey knows.