As we Pray, So we Believe, So we Live
I saw a bumper sticker the other day and it made me laugh.
‘HONK 40 Times if your Orthodox!”
If your Orthodox you know what this means.
In every (every!) Orthodox Prayerbook, Orthodox Liturgy, prayer service there are these little markings (x3) (x12) (x40) (x100) which mean say this, that number of times.
Repeat this repetition and then repeat it again.
Protestantism tends not to encourage this. Roman Catholicism does some. Orthodox can’t seem to help themselves. Why!
Well, it was the way of prayer in Judaism and The Early Church. Repetition remembers. Remembering brings forth. Behold! The repeating words of prayer become present, permanent and purposeful.
When you pray The Trisagion Prayers, The Called Upon comes calling. He designed prayer that way. As simple as that. As profound as that. As Glorious as that!
“It works if you work it”.
Alcoholics Anonymous does the same thing with all the sayings that are framed and hung on the walls and in hearts and minds. Eventually you come to realize what they mean and have done for you.
“Keep It Simple”
“But for the Grace of God”
“It works if you work it”
“One Day At a Time”
And we repeat the sayings time and time again. To ourselves and each other.
We have readings to start our meetings. Some read Chapter 5 ‘How It Works’ from The Big Book. It is our Symbol of Faith.
And always we say, we pray The Serenity Prayer.
“God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The Courage to change the things I can. And the Wisdom to know the difference.”
Regularity remembers. Welcomingly familiar. Home and safe.
And as my friend Randy starts The Lord’s Prayer: ‘Who made the stars and keeps us out of bars?’ God is transcendent and immanent. Creating the cosmos and me. Beyond all grasp and wonder and sitting right next to me. Prayer pulls our the chair for God.
To want to pray, is to pray. To pray is to learn to pray. To repeat prayers is to pray always and all ways. ‘It works if you work it.’
“One day, when Jesus had finished praying in a certain place, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples.”
“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?”
Corrie Ten Boom