One aspect of prayer, one that is often uncomfortable and at times can be actually painful, is when all we can do is to wait on the Lord.
Waiting takes up a lot of time even in our day to day lives. We wait at airports, doctors and dentist offices, even for an important call. There can be an experience of nothingness in waiting, sort of like the play “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett. For me what struck me about the play was the emptiness and boredom that was so evident.
So yes waiting can be tedious but unavoidable. In prayer the experience can be one of extreme dryness, of feeling isolated and where trying to raise ones heart and mind to God impossible. It is then we simply sit and wait, in silence, or perhaps in slowly reading from the scriptures, entering into a scene and simply staying there, or saying some simple prayer slowly. Then again, just sitting, aware that one is waiting -- yes just like in a doctors office, or like the two men in Godot.
The difference from the play, however, is that our wait does not end in despair. There will be days when the waiting is just that -- nothing happens, yet it is the simply being there that is the real prayer. For in this dryness we are slowly being taught to seek the Lord for himself alone and not just for what we can experience or receive.
We learn from this that it is grace, God’s love, which is in control. This waiting is probably a more important time than the times of consolation and joy. For it is then that we truly choose to seek the Lord in the desert. The living waters will flow on no schedule, but they will flow, in fact they are always there, just hidden beneath the sands. We get what we need, not what we want.When have you had to wait for something? How does prayer help you in times of waiting? What encouragement can you give to those who feel like they are constantly in a waiting game?