The beads ground me. Round and round their thread I go. One by one they slide through fingers. Polished smooth, though not yet by use.
Cross in hand, each bead a prayer. The knots my selah reminder to breathe, to wait. Then bead to ask that he would speak. More knots, more breathing, more stilling: a waiting to know what I should pray. A breath prayer comes, sometimes just the Name. And Bethlehem beads feed through forefinger and thumb. Each bead unique, each bead a prayer.
Ten times I’ll breathe and pray. Same words, same breath. Soul goes where it will. Skitters and swerves, refusing all discipline. Such random ricochet my prayer these days. Nineteen years of practice and right now can hardly pray. Arrow prayers, of course, they fly up. For others, for me, most hours of the day. And prayers with others, they flow too. But disciplined waiting and speaking largely gone, prayer life collapsing inward.
The irony, I know: that I spend my days in corporate expressions of spirituality, counselling others in pursuit of deeper obedience, teaching the church, writing words as worship, speaking others that they tell me are prophetic. I spend my days pointing to the stream, though prayer life limps in dry and weary land where there is no water.
Inward collapse is inconvenience, it is true. No one likes to stumble over simplest act. For instead of words bubbling forth, even prayer’s thought makes me weary. And faced with him, I have simply nothing to say. Silence wells up and thickens in the face of his gaze. And mind skitters. Soul runs. Any direction but him.
Yes, collapse is inconvenience but not concern, I think. What matters now is praying still. Not curling up in wilderness hinterland, giving up, giving in. Instead, deliberate returning. Again and again. Struggling through borderlands between prayer country old and new. Learning to stay with Fire, not run.
And, right now, it is only rosary repurposed that holds me. Beads that keep me, though prayer is scarce and word of the Lord rare. Ten times I’ll pray the words to him, repeated all the same, and mind still goes where it will. But beads and words and breath, they draw soul back to gaze of love as round and round their thread I go.
Ten prayers, selah stillness and the prayer that he would speak. Five sets to complete the loop, eight minutes his presence practised. And so round again I go. Me saying little and him saying less, but this my repeated upward glance.
Attempt to stay with Fire, not run.