When I was in college, I read a book called practicing the presence of God. It was written by a humble man named Brother Lawrence who worked as a cook in a monastery. Although he never occupied a position of prestige in the professional world or the church, he was said to be the most influential presence in any of his surroundings because of his rich interior life. He described prayer as a state of being, as opposed to an isolated activity, in which he experienced unbroken communion with the Divine. Brother Lawrence was so deeply devoted to the meditative and contemplative life, that great spiritual leaders from around the world came to visit HIM for counsel.
When I first read his story, my heart was set on fire. I was determined to explore, for myself, the possibilities of prayer. I began to read the writings of mystics and I made a concerted effort to practice an awareness of God’s omnipresence at all times.
I adopted the practice of contacting one person per day and asking them if I could say a prayer for them.
For the next six months I experienced some of the most amazing moments in my life as I prayed for others. Some people would cry just because another person thought of them in their prayers. Others would open up to me and share stories of suffering and triumph that became food for my soul for years to come. And the more I prayed for others, the more alive I felt.
But one day, it got awkward: I contacted an old friend and told him about my little prayer project. I asked if I could pray for him and he seemed really uncomfortable with the whole idea. I politely backed down and changed the conversation. After that experience, I never asked anyone if I could pray for them again.
Although every persons reaction to my prayer experiment was overwhelmingly positive, that one awkward experience was enough to kill my momentum and make me shy away from future efforts.
Here’s today’s two cents:
If you have a dream or a creative impulse of any kind, you will probably take some risks that blow up in your face.
You may get laughed at, booed off stage, misunderstood, ignored, hated on, and a host of other things.
Sometimes, you will make mistakes and miscalculations. Sometimes, you will be misunderstood.
When those moments happen, you can allow the experiences to steal your fire or you can use them as feedback for improvement.
After a recent inspiring conversation with my wife about the power of prayer, I’ve decided that I’m going to resurrect my prayer experiment again.
Do you have anything in your life that needs to be resurrected?
The whole world doesn’t need your gift, but somebody out here does. Don’t deprive them of your unique contribution just because of the people who aren’t moved by what you do.
Don’t let anybody steal your fire. Let your light shine.