Saturday, July 19, 2014

How I Pray

Prayer is a personal thing. It is a conversation between you and God. It is an expression of what is in your heart, even more so than what is in your mind. There is no right or wrong way to pray. How could there be? How could something so private, personal, intimate such as a conversation between you are your Creator be judged as correct or incorrect? It can't.

For many people, prayer is a big production. There can be a big build-up before the actual prayer even begins.  "Almighty God, The most highest, most righteous, King of Kings, My Saviour, My Creator, I come before you, humbled by your grace and forgiveness, to bring to you my .... etc.. etc.."

For some people, prayer is saved for Sunday Church service. Led by the Preacher. The Preacher will deliver the sermon of the day, and lead the congregation in prayer. Those gathered will follow along, ending the day with a collective Amen. Then depart and go about their week.

For others, prayer is a meditation. Meditation is a peaceful period, where the person will transition themselves into a connection, bringing their inner self in line with the source. Mediation, again, can be a production. For some people, they have to perch themselves upon a mountain top, at sunrise - or sunset, contort themselves into the lotus position, and there they will sit - sometimes for hours.  For other people, meditation can be a mere minute. A touchstone moment in time, where they can reboot themselves with the press of a peaceful re-set. A moment to connect with the Spirit. To realign themselves, to balance themselves. And then proceed with their day - until the next moment calls upon them.

The truth of the matter is that there are as many ways to pray as there are people in the world.

For me, prayer is not a set moment. It is not a pause in my schedule. It is not a day of the week. It is not an appointment in my calendar. It is a continuum. A conversation with God. Really no different than having a conversation with a friend on the phone, then hanging up. And calling that friend later in the day to pick up where you left off.

I believe that God is with me in each step I take, in each breath that enters and leaves my body.  God is aware of the happenings in my life. He is aware of the experiences I have. He is aware of what is in my heart. Therefore I don't' feel the need to 'catch Him up' on what has been happening.  He already knows. There is no need for me to give Him a copy of the minutes from our last meeting so He can be up-to-date. God is always on time and always caught up.

For me, prayer is an opportunity to give thanks for the blessings that occur in my day.  And also for the hardships that God leads me through. For I know that in the hardships, there are lessons. And lessons are blessings.  It is an opportunity for me to ask for strength. For I know that God does not give me strength, He is my strength. So I am actually asking God to stay with me through a crisis that I may be experiencing in that moment.

From my bed, I can look directly through the window of my bedroom. The window covers the entire width of one wall.  So each morning as I wake, the moment my eyes open, I turn to look through the window at the sky, and I say; "Good morning God. Thank you for giving me another day in this life."  And then of course, I pull back the covers, and roll out of the comfort of my bed, and do the things one does first thing in the morning.

Once I have washed up and gotten dressed, I take my medication and get ready to take my dog; Bentley, out for his morning walk. Typically my legs are still sore, as the medications have not yet kicked in, so as I walk, I pray. "God, please ease the pain in my legs. Be with me. Carry me through this walk. Enable me to take Bentley ____ (wherever we are going) ___"  

When we arrive back home, I may watch the news to see what is happening in the world, what the weather will be like. I may do the dishes, do some writing here in my blog, I may have an appointment.  Whatever my day holds, I continue the conversation. I continue my prayers. In fact, often times, my prayers are through song. When I am walking about, I often catch myself singing. "Yes, Jesus Loves Me." "Amazing Grace."  "Healer" "Stand". And so on.  I don't even realize that I am doing it, until someone passes me on the street and glances at me oddly.  I smile kindly at them. Then I have a little giggle to myself and know that God is also smiling at that moment. Have you ever heard a song on the radio and it gets stuck in your head? I sometimes wonder if the person passing me on the street, will find themselves singing. I hope so!

At night, some people will kneel in prayer at the side of their bed. Well, needless to say I am not able to do that. But my physical/medical limitations do not stop my conversation. I climb into my bed each night, and get myself settled. As I reflect upon my day, I will again thank God for the gift of another day in this life. I will thank Him for getting me through whatever challenges and obstacles met my path through the day. I will ask God to help my daughter in her life. I will pray for health, wellness, and joy for my family, friends - and all those whom they love. I will pray for God to be with all who are hurting, hungry, facing illness, grieving, experiencing loss, surviving a tragedy - around the world. I will ask God to watch over me as I sleep, and that if He decides my time in this life is over, that He may call my soul home to be with Him.

Additionally, through my prayers, I will ask for guidance. Clearly, I do not have all of the answers. I believe life is a learning experience. And as we evolve though life, we discover things about ourselves. We put the pieces together and, much like a puzzle, gradually the picture is revealed to us. I believe that the picture does not have to be permanent. Indeed, it may just be a rough draft. And if there is something that we don't like - we can ask God to help us change that part of the picture. Realizing of course that the picture is really a reflection of ourselves.

For me, that is the root of prayer. Knowing where I am in any given moment, being grateful, thankful, for all that is presented to me in this life. And learning all that I can along my path. About myself. About this gift of life that I have been given. Never really knowing what I will experience along my path, but trusting in my faith that the final destination has been pre-determined for me. If you view your journey or path as a road-trip, and you view yourself as a car, you can then view prayer as fuel. The fuel needed to keep you going, so that you may also arrive at your destination.

Much like other writings throughout this blog, my heart often dictates what is written here. And in this case, I was watching some Saturday afternoon programs, when my heart called upon me to share How I Pray with all of you.

And with that, I invite you to engage in your own conversation.

Love and Light,