The Prayer-filled Life

What is spirituality? The word cannot properly be defined because it means something different to each person. This is not a problem. The term remains helpful.  “The current usefulness of the term is not its precision but rather in the way it names something indefinable yet quite recognizable – transcendence vaguely intermingled with intimacy. Transcendence: a sense that there is more, a sense that life extends far beyond me, beyond what I get paid, beyond what my spouse and children think of me, beyond my cholesterol count. And intimacy: a sense that deep within me there is a core being inaccessible to the probes of psychologists or the examinations of physicians, the questions of the pollsters, the strategiesof the advertisers. ‘Spirituality,’ though hardly precise, provides the catch-all term that recognizes an organic linkage to this Beyond and Within that are part of everyone’s experience.”



St. Julian of Norwich in Prayer


Christian spirituality, while being informed by the Beyond and Within, is much more concrete. Christian spirituality is the experience of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. “Spirituality” in the New Testament is always the domain and work of the Holy Spirit. And that work is always to reveal Jesus Christ.  Christian spirituality must begin in honesty and in prayer.

Pray as you can, not as you can’t.

– Dom John Chapman

Therefore we begin in simple prayer. “In Simple Prayer we bring ourselves before God just as we are, warts and all. Like children before a loving father, we open our hearts and make our requests. We do not try to sort things out, the good from the bad. We simply and unpretentiously share our concerns and make our petitions. We tell God, for example, how frustrated we are with the co-worker at the office or the neighbor down the street. We ask for food, favorable weather, and good health.”

Simple prayer is the most common form of prayer in the Bible. We tell God what we actually think and feel instead of what we think God might like to hear. And in doing so, we open up a space in which Jesus can be present to us.