A new year has begun. We see many comments about resolutions, plans made, and other action words focused forward on the future. Goals are good, but I’m here to say don’t overlook the present moment. It’s beautiful outside, the weather is quiet, and God has given us this day to enjoy. No, that’s wrong — he’s given us this moment.
My pastor is teaching a class on prayer, the current lesson being the practice of “breath prayer”. For example, on your in-breath, think “The Lord is my shepherd” and on your out-breath, think “I shall not want”. Five minutes might be the duration, but length of time is variable. The purpose is to refresh and maintain your awareness of God’s close presence to you.
I have gained much by sitting still in prayer. It’s been while in prayer that solutions to life’s problems came to mind or new writing topics entered my head. I may or may not have asked God for help with those issues. I simply pray the usual points on my prayer list and while praying, I concentrate in two directions, aware of ideas that run in the back of my mind while praying my requests upfront. It takes practice, but I think of it as keeping my mind open to thoughts while in conversation with someone, as a parent listens for a child to call while talking to another adult.
It may seem like these thoughts arise from nowhere, but I believe God gives them while he has my attention. I don’t mean to diminish the gravity of the petitions I make in prayer, rather to describe blessings received while in service to God. Prayer is a multifaceted practice, full of graces in many aspects. I haven’t practiced breath prayer. My time with God is early mornings, but I think I’ll start in quiet moments anytime as a way of refocussing on God near me while listening for messages he wants to give me.
Join Sheri Hathaway on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter (@sherismusing) as she divides her time between writing and watercolour painting, enjoying life on both the Canadian prairies and the West Coast.