Monday night I felt off. Just…off.
Not quite myself.
Something was rattling around inside, like, hmm, how to describe it? Indigestion of the spirit maybe?
“I’ll go to bed early. I’m sure I’ll feel better in the morning.”
Come morning however, it had only intensified. A groaning and rumbling deep inside, like a bear in a cave waking up from hibernation.
Finally, I clued in. I was burden bearing. I’ve written about this before in my blog, here and here.
I was in the kitchen alone, making pancakes for the house. Mindless work. So I went on pancake autopilot and attended to the groaning.
To His groaning.
I didn’t try to figure it out. I just tuned in to the rumble and sat with the feelings. Grief, pain, sadness. I prayed in the Spirit a bit. The closest I could get to articulating anything was ‘come, Lord Jesus’.
By the time we sat down to eat pancakes, it had passed. Whatever it was, it had been prayed through.
After pancakes, our housemates check in and pray with each other. I told them about my morning groaning, and in our intercession time, they prayed that I would have insight into what it had been about.
I realized though, that I don’t need to know what it is about. My modern, Western mind would like to be able to articulate and categorize things. But sometimes there are groans too deep for words, and sometimes it is enough to attend to the murmerings of the Holy Spirit, deep within.
Catholics classify prayer as kataphatic or apophatic. Simply put, kataphatic prayer is the prayer of words or images. Apophatic prayer is inarticulate, wordlessly attending to the Presence of Jesus within. We as Western Evangelicals are much more familiar and comfortable with the former. I am discovering in my journey in prayer, though, that with greater frequency I’m being drawn to a place beyond words, into the place simply of His Presence.
And sometimes His groanings. As He grieves over all the calamity in this world, is it not surprising that He would invite us to groan with Him? To accompany Him in His grief?