In The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Samuel Coleridge declares, ‘He prayeth well, who loveth well.’ 1 Coleridge, of course, got this idea from the Bible, for its pages breathe the language of divine love. Real prayer comes not from gritting our teeth but from falling in love. This is why the great literature on prayer is frankly and wonderfully erotic. ‘The Trinity,’ writes Juliana of Norwich, ‘is our everlasting lover.’ 2 ‘O my love!’ exclaims Richard Rolle. ‘O my Honey! O my Harp! O my psalter and canticle all the day! When will you heal my grief? O root of my heart, when will you come to me?’ 3 ‘Jesus, Lover of my soul,’ pleads Charles Wesley. ‘Let me to thy bosom fly.’ 4 One day a friend of mine was walking through a shopping mall with his two-year-old son. The child was in a particularly cantankerous mood, fussing and fuming. The frustrated father tried everything to quiet his son but nothing seemed to help. The child simply would not obey. Then, under some special inspiration,
inspiration, the father scooped up his son and, holding him close to his chest, began singing an impromptu love song. None of the words rhymed. He sang off key. And yet, as best he could, this father began sharing his heart. ‘I love you,’ he sang. ‘I’m so glad you’re my boy. You make me happy. I like the way you laugh.’ On they went from one store to the next. Quietly the father continued singing off key and making up words that did not rhyme. The child relaxed and became still, listening to this strange and wonderful song. Finally, they finished shopping and went to the car. As the father opened the door and prepared to buckle his son into the car seat, the child lifted his head and said simply, ‘Sing it to me again, Daddy! Sing it to me again!’ 5 Prayer is a little like that. With simplicity of heart we allow ourselves to be gathered up into the arms of the Father and let him sing his love song over us. Dear God, I am so grateful for your invitation to enter your heart of love. As best I can I come in. Thank you for receiving me. –Amen.