How to Pray Without Ceasing - James Houston and Bruce Hindmarsh
James Houston and Bruce Hindmarsh, both professors of spiritual theology at Regent College, discuss the life of prayer as a way of recovering our humanity. Moderated by Steve Porter (CCT Associate Director).
Jim, how did you find your way into that prayer without ceasing, that meditative way of life? What are some of the things that were helpful for you?
Well, I think, you might say that one’s prayer life should be considered as one’s spiritual fingerprints. In other words, prayer is a gift of a unique relationship you have with God that you have with no one else. And one of the problems that I found in my earlier life, when I was struggling to pray was the more books you read on prayer, the more certainty you’ll have that you’re not praying.
Because you’re always trying to imitate what these great classics or these great prayer warriors are doing. And so, no, prayer has to be your own gifted relationship with God and it’s not imitative. It’s something that you simply have, like Moses had at the burning bush, that there you’ve encountered the I Am that I Am. And then you celebrate that uniqueness of your prayer life with the Lord. It’s not being selfish about it because, obviously, it has huge social consequences.
Steve, I think one of the things for me that unlocked my own soul when I was sort of stuck in prayer, reading Hans Urs von Balthasar’s dense little classic on prayer, and just the very first chapter, he just wrote about how we’re made for prayer.
It’s not like holding some extreme downward dog yoga position for as long as you can until you fall over. That it’s actually our most human selves. He talks about the room has always already been prepared and to realize that this is a matter of recovering our humanity not departing from it, that’s actually my go-to place whenever I get stuck [laughs].
Yes. So we can be stoics in prayer.
And stoicism is not a good climate for prayer. [uplifting music]