I'm interested in the idea of prayerlessness or "dryness" as it has been used in church and in discussions of things spiritual. The usual response is to be somewhat critical and to take onesself or others to task for not praying enough, or not praying "from the heart." Perhaps in a tactful way, but still, to extol the lives of those "prayer warriors," to quote familiar maxims- "the family that prays together stays together," "prayer is the best medicine."
I'm wondering if these kinds of responses don't deserve the indignant outburst or surreptitious snicker behind the hand that might be more common if we weren't so worried about not appearing unspiritual. Should I really just expect myself to be able to plow on through, get on my knees, put together words day after day in some way that seems to me increasingly vapid- yet all unto God? Do we really need that kind of prayer?
What is the most honest response I can have to a lack of desire to pray?
What if I, quite simply, didn't pray?
He maketh darkness his covert. What? God does not dwell in houses made by human hands. Why should I expect to continue to feel "in the presence of God" when what my eyes are increasingly fixed on my ability to form words correctly, on the appropriate-ness of my prayer, on the frequency of my prayer, on how acceptable my prayer is to its listeners, on my willingness and desire to pray? On the fabrications and forms of the visible and sensory which, while they go a certain distance in orienting me toward the Unkowable, can't really bridge the gap.
Could my words become fewer and fewer, until blessedly, the burden of hurling requests and soulful declarations skyward, hoping desperately that they please God and echo his will, disappears and the darkness of Him who transcends these things surrounds me and says simply "Ssshhh..."
We could try to counter this prayerlessness with Scripture based admonitions and examples of people more spiritual than ourselves. But what if non-prayer is, more often than we think, the most God-oriented prayer we have?