Plumbing the Depths

BLOG WARNING: If the thought of needles and blood make you queasy skip to paragraph two.

Before I became a full time Jesus lover, I was a part time Medical Technologist. I worked in the laboratory of a few different hospitals in my career doing diagnostic testing. One of my job responsibilities was drawing blood. It never ceased to amaze me how the human body worked; in particular how this life-giving fluid pulses through our bodies and maintains all our organs and cells even when it feels like nothing is happening. Such a powerful force at work and we are oblivious to it most of the time until I come along and plumb the depths of your arm with a needle. (I warned you.)

In his book I Thirst, Joseph Langford M.C., says “The Holy Spirit is constantly, day and night, praying within us, waiting for us to open to the mystery of his prayer and to enter in to it.” It is our job to join that flow of prayer and let it become our prayer. That is how we deepen our prayer life to a place that goes beyond the superficial, stale prayer we easily become accustomed to and that often keeps us from finding God’s presence.

This prayer of the Holy Spirit within us can provide us with life-giving grace and helps us maintain the life-giving connection to God that we need. There is such a powerful force at work and available to us even when we feel like nothing is happening. Just as we can’t feel the blood coursing through our veins, but we know it’s there, we can’t feel the prayer coursing through our beings but we know it is there. We just have to go deeper.

How often in our prayer life do we stay at the surface? How often are we distracted in prayer? How often is our prayer more about quantity then quality, especially during Lent?

In prayer, quality is more important than quantity. Superficial prayer that never makes the effort to go deeper cannot satisfy us and cannot satiate the Lord. Instead, we need to dive beneath the surface of our souls to find God’s presence in what the Eastern Church Fathers have sometimes called “prayer of the heart.” At the superficial level we are easily assailed by thoughts and distractions. The living waters are flowing at a deeper level below all the surface disturbances. We are like divers seeking fine pearls. If the diver stays at the water’s surface, he is buffeted by wind and waves. When he descends more deeply to where the pearls are to be found, he may be aware of the sea raging above him, but he is not disturbed. So it is with prayer. If we make the effort to stay “deep” at the level of the heart, we may be aware of distractions going on above us, but they do not impede our prayer.

We are called during Lent to more prayer but how about instead of more prayer, we think deeper prayer. Plumb the depths in search of that living stream of God’s Spirit that is always there for us to tap into.

Dive deeper in prayer to where the true treasure lies.

Good with a needle,


Joan Carey, Firstfruits executive director, is an author and speaker with a passion for helping women grow in their relationships with God. Her Ponder This book contains a series of modern day parables sure to get you thinking about and seeing our extraordinary God in our ordinary experiences. Joan invites you to use resources on this website for daily reflection in your journey to grow in God's loving care for you.
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