Having attended the Divine Liturgy at Chatham yesterday, I realised when praying the shorter form of Evening Prayer tonight that I have misunderstood what prayer is really about.
Prayer is allowing Divine Life to 'lift you up' and communicate with you. It is not primarily about "saying the words and meaning them" although that is of course important.
Prayer is really about the shocking, rather awesome reality that God does indeed exist and that He is utterly unknowable to your intellect. The immensity and gentle powerfulness of Christ's presence, the unknowable vastness and cosmic immensity of The Father, and the warmth of the Holy Spirit are Realities of such grandeur and power that you can forget that they are actually Real and within reach of your spiritual awareness by focussing your mind on lesser things. Awareness of sin is essential, but allowing it to totally govern your prayer life is mistaken.
I imagine myself in my utter childish helplessness with a "rubber ring" keeping me afloat on a vast ocean. Prayer is trusting the water and learning to appreciate and communicate with the swell and immensity of it all, whereas shutting the Reality out through fear and pretending that my inflatable is the only thing that matters seems really rather foolish. Using the sea metaphor, prayer is noticing the vastness of the spiritual sky, the power of the Spiritual Sun, and the dangers of deep water without proper assistance. I realised that I may have been missing the point of prayer in the past. I am not suggesting that prayer is a nice warm bath. It is surely communication with the Divine at the deepest level of one's being. Just as on the ocean, there may be hidden dangers of various kinds. There could even be sharks.
Have I got this more or less right?