Prayer is weird.
It's one of those things that every person has an opinion about. And for some people, they are strong ones.
What it is.
How to do it.
I believed them all at different times.
What it is...
Prayer is "just" having a conversation with God.
Prayer is a formula - praise, confess, ask, thank.
Prayer is "an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with an object of worship through deliberate communication" (thanks Wikipedia - what does that even mean?)
How to do it...
"Without ceasing." (thanks Paul)
With index cards or journals, color-coding and follow-ups.
On your knees, pleading for mercy.
All the answers whether you like them or not.
The gates of hell are stormed.
On and on the lists go. As many as there are people.
So back to my first sentence.
Prayer is weird.
To be candid, I've always struggled with prayer.
I am not a prayer warrior.
If you ask me to pray, I want to and I hope to, but sometimes I fail to.
Probably because I just can't sign up for and believe all the things that it is supposed to be or do.
I haven't thrown it out. Because, you know, Jesus. He did it all the time and He spent time teaching about it.
So I know it's hugely important and I want it in my life.
For now, I've settled in this space with something that has been life-giving to me: breath prayers.
I pattern it after a box breath (look it up).
As I inhale (long, slow deep), I call to mind a person, especially if they've asked me to or it's their assigned day (ask my family...they all have one). I can even be the person. I have a day all to myself.
As I hold my breath for a moment, I hold space before God for the person and their pain or their joy or their question or their fear or whatever.
As I exhale (long, slow, deep), I breathe back the love, peace, grace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and wisdom of God to them.
As I pause for a moment between breaths, I make space to trust the Holy Spirit to reach into the places where only He can counsel and comfort.
Why do I love this? What makes this helpful to me?
I can do it anytime, anywhere, about anyone or anything.
It calms my own zippy and hurried body and settles my own soul around the Source of Life and Love.
I don't have to "get it right" or know what happens. I can lean into the mystery of it all.
I often think about how God is as close as our very breath. This means He's not only outside of us, surrounding us with His love, but inside of us, embedding us with His life.
Breath is the source of (small l) life and possibly (big L) Life.
Perhaps because the "God formed Adam of the dust from the soil, and breathed into his face the breath of life, and Adam was a living soul." (Genesis 2:7)
Perhaps because Jesus "breathed on them and said 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'" (John 20:22)
Perhaps because the Holy Spirit is actually called "Ruah," the very breath of God Himself. (all throughout Scripture)
Yes. The Source of LIFE.
I still think prayer is weird, but I'm totally okay with weird.