When we think of prayer, we are likely to be too limited in our thinking. Yesterday, we reflected about two very popular types of prayer: ‘I need’ and ‘show me’. Then, we ended with a brief discussion of ‘listening’ prayer, or meditation. I hope we can continue to expand the boundaries of what we, traditionally, consider ‘prayer’. In doing this, especially as we enter the season of Lent, I hope to encourage all of us to PRAY in the ways that are most comfortable and meaningful for us.
Most people don’t think of reading as prayer… but it IS. The most traditional form of ‘reading’ prayer is to sit down with a passage of Scripture and read it with a mind for connecting with God. For this, I suggest reading the Psalms (which are actual prayers written to God and used by the Jewish and Christian faith communities as prayer for centuries). But, if you are a little more non-traditional, read ANYTHING that inspires you. Read it deeply and slowly. When finished, sit in silence. Listen for God in the words. Listen for God in the silence. If you are not sure about God… just say so: “I’m not sure about this whole God-thing… but if there is a higher power in control of things… HELP me to understand”. God loves to be ‘discoverd’ by those of us who didn’t know God before… I promise God’s presence will be experienced (in some way) by those who ask as they pursue faith and knowledge.
There are also the prayers we pray for others… those we love. Sometimes, even when we can’t pray in our own lives we are called to ‘cry out’ on behalf of those we love.
There are also the prayers we pray when we are so ashamed of ourselves and we just CAN’T tell anyone.
There are also the prayers we pray when we are thankful… when we look at our lives and KNOW (even if only for a few instants) that we have been given a great gift of one kind or another.
There are also prayers of song. Some of us experience the wonder of the world through music. Our souls soar with the music and lyrics as we reach spiritual places unattainable by other means. A lot of people find music is a good vehicle for prayer. Try this one… it is fantastic!
There are also prayers of AWE. Many traditional prayers in the Christian faith speak of the awesome nature of God. We all experience God’s awesome nature in different ways. For folks who don’t have a church background (like me) I often point to the AWE of the natural world… like the Grand Canyon, a beautiful sunset, a starry night. I often point to the AWE of discoveries in astrophysics or quantum physics… and how incredibly large (or small) and intensely intricate the world is.
All of this is to say… PRAY. Pray in the way that you feel moved. Especially now as the Lenten Season approaches. God wants to change our lives for the better. Through prayer… we can meet God halfway.