The weather has been up and down and hitting various extremes recently. Cold, rainy days are interspersed with brilliantly sunny interludes; bitter winds with bursts of mild, spring-like weather. And that is how life has been too: the effects of a heavy cold, and swirling disappointments and difficulties; and then, in the midst of all these dark clouds, sudden, heartening bursts of goodness and positivity.
My prayer, though, has not followed these highs and lows. During the dark clouds prayer hasn't become any harder or more intense; during the sunshine it hasn't transformed itself into ecstasy or even greater light or ease. It is simply there; a quiet, constant, unchanging backdrop to the events and vicissitudes of my life. It is simply the same; a low-key, silent, image-less, mutual being-with. And it is simply something to which I increasingly look forward, something I find myself wanting more of, even with - possibly because of - its plainness and evenness. That is the beauty of it, and the inexpressible mystery of it.
Many years ago I came across this line from Isaiah: In quietness and in trust shall be your strength (30.15). Over the years it has remained with me, speaking of prayer and resting in God, and now there are times, while I pray, when it sings softly within me. And so I sit in quietness, and in trust in God's fidelity and presence. And within and by that I am strengthened - not by lovely insights or experiences, just by being with God.