The alert doorkeeper (to the house of prayer)

A man in sorrow is in general far nearer God than a man in joy, Gladness may make a man forget his thanksgiving; misery drives him to his prayers. For we ARE not yet, we are only BECOMING. The endless day will at length dawn whose every throbbing moment will heave our hearts Godward; we shall scarce need to lift them up: now, there are two doorkeepers to the house of prayer, and Sorrow is more on the alert to open than her grandson Joy.

-George MacDonald, Sermon: Sorrow, The Pledge of Joy

Prayer is a difficult discipline for me. Since nearly every treatise, sermon, what have you on prayer typically begins with a long disclaimer stating how much the author sucks at praying, I believe I’m in numerous company.

An odd thing happened a couple weeks back though. I came down with a rather nasty flu and had a high fever for about two days. I only get sick about once a year and I don’t typially handle it well, as my wife will attest to. This time though, while moaning in agony on the couch, I found myself frequently turning to God. And not just asking that my sickness would go away. In fact, there was very little of that. I thanked and petitioned him for many things, hours on end. I can’t remember when the last time THAT was.

Now, MacDonald goes on to explain that the primary source of sorrow is the death of loved ones but I can’t help but think what I just described is related.