That prayer is most likely to pierce heaven which first pierces one’s own heart. ~ Thomas Watson
Early this morning, someone visited me in a profound dream. A sports superstar, one of the greats in his field. He lives on the other side of the world. His world and mine have never intersected and never will.
And yet in the purple darkness of a day just coming to life, it appears that he came to me in a pleading.
When dreams are dramatic yet leave no lasting mark on my soul, it is the sign to me that they mean nothing. But this one today, in the darkest hour before dawn, pierced my heart with its sadness and regret. A man in an invisible prison, held behind bars no one could see, asking for the impossible.
Many are the struggles of this human race, yet, the most public of them are seldom the hardest. Often, the crosses that bite the deepest constitute the most hidden of struggles. A man like this star, for whom money could buy almost anything, could certainly avail himself of any form of luxury or aid. But when success places one on the pedestal of worship and adulation, it can be hard to ask for help. It can be harder to even convince others that help is needed.
In a dream many years ago, I saw a white map of the world, suspended in the bluest skies above an old European city of whitewashed buildings and clean but deserted streets. In that dream, I was warned of a coming nameless terror. Later, St. Jude indicated to me that it was time to “leave my church” and to go to another of need. Pray for others, St. Jude had said to me. Then, today, comes this searing dream, this voiceless plea from a man who has seemingly everything, a man in a European country, a world away.
A dream come today perhaps to ask if I would pray for others as others have prayed for me. But more importantly I suspect, to first acknowledge my own sins and come clean before God, and then to pray for this man, icon of the world, yet as broken as any of us.
All the more I turn away – because to pray for this soul, I will have to pass through the portal of my own weaknesses. There is no pleasure in that. But at the very moment I make ready to flee, I recall something I read just the day before: that before any form of prayer is prayed, we need to first squarely face ourselves. No hiding behind excuses or distractions but to come clean to ourselves. If we can be honest with ourselves, only then can we open our own hearts to God. Only then can we reach out and give help where it is needed, exactly as it is needed.
And so I turn back to face myself. Then, I gather up my sins and go before the Heart of God. I reach into this Great Heart and leave them there. Finally, I lift up this man and into this same Heart, I place him and his needs as I have perceived them.
Still praying, a while later I realise that only the memory of the dream remains. The sadness is no more, not a trace.
It tells me that my work is done. We have both gone to the Heart of God.