Some of you may be familiar with the story of virtuoso Joshua Bell who played his Stradivarius violin incognito in a Washington subway. Few stopped to listen, with the notable exception being children who pulled at their parent's hands to stay and listen, but were pulled back and rushed off. Two days earlier, Joshua Bell played to a sold out audience who paid an average of $100 a seat in a theatre in Boston. (For full story, click here.)
It made me think of the every day beauty and genius we may pass by every day. The difference between the audience who paid $100 and the subway commuters makes all the difference, in life as in prayer. In short, the audience was prepared to receive the blessing, and the rushed commuters were not. And we can learn something from this about our approach to prayer, and learn what makes prayer the enriching experience it can be.
The audience who paid $100 gave value and expected value. They already knew somewhat of the virtuoso they had paid to see. They took the time. They made sure they were not distracted. They realized the value of immersing themselves in an experience that took them to a higher place.
A friend once gave me her ticket to hear the Minnesota Orchestra. "This is my favorite place to pray," she said. In an atmosphere of expectation of genius and free of distractions, my friend found the perfect environment for her prayer.
It made me ask, how can I prepare myself for prayer? In light of this lesson of the virtuoso going incognito, I see how I can come to prayer:
I greatly value this time by expecting to get startling new insight into God's operations.
I take time - put aside all else for this time of communion.
I allow myself the opportunity to feel saturated with Truth, overwhelmed by Love, and washed with the harmony and purity of Soul.
I expect to be taken to a higher place. I expect that I will see more genius in my every day experience.
Like a child, I will tap into that spiritual sense that recognizes what is brilliant in the every day, where others may just walk by.
Nothing is perfunctory. Each note of my prayer is original, live and relevant to each breath of my life.
Inspiration is the norm and miracles are divinely natural.
My prayer may be an affirmation of God's Love, a celebration of God's creation, an acknowledgement of the omnipotence of peace, a petition to know God better, or an agreement with the powerlessness of evil and the primal element of untarnished good. I am open to go where my prayer leads me.
And with this, I am ready to pray.
Here is a prayer for today:
Kim C Korinek, CSB
banner photo (c) Micah Korinek; other photos by Gabe Korinek, Kim Korinek, Brad Crooks. Leslie Larsen (c) 2016