How to Pray Through Your Horror
Julian of Norwich was brilliant. She positively impacted millions by her reflections on prayer. But she was crazy.
Julian’s experience of God resulted in such ecstasy she spoke of it in the most positive and glowing terms. But, the inciting incident to her spiritual quest was a horrifying vision of Christ bleeding to death on the cross. Once she delved into the mystery of her vision, she arrived at her revelation of divine love.
“I saw no wrath except on man’s side, and He forgives that in us, for wrath is nothing else but a perversity and an opposition to peace and to love.” – Julian of Norwich
How can you pray like Julian? Why would you want to? She was subjected to psychological horror before being treated to her remarkable insights. Nevertheless …
- Understand that your pain, though not caused by God, can be redeemed by God. The sooner you relinquish your identity as a victim and reclaim through Christ your identity as God’s child, the sooner you can repurpose your pain to help others. Thus, stop praying your pain. Stop fetishizing your hurts. Pray instead that God would give you the strength to reconstitute your pain as a ministry to others in emulation of the cross.
- Recognize that you are on a journey and that the present moment is neither the end nor the beginning. This day, with all its incumbent trials and rewards, is but one step closer to heaven. Take today’s steps without unnaturally fretting about their misfortunes or elevating their significance. Pray yourself closer to heaven, visualizing every word as an inch forward.
- Finally, share what you have learned with others as an encouragement. Both Julian spent considerable time in her latter years helping others move forward in their relationship with Christ. Pray that you might be given such opportunity, and that you might not squander it.
Adapted from How to be wtih God: A Primer on Christian Prayer
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