There is running throughout Scripture the expectation that our lives, if truly lived as we’ve been created and redeemed to do so, would be enveloped in all-encompassing prayer – in full communion with God, our conversation with God never-ceasing, for we are never without the ever-present Creator and Redeemer. It’s the Sustainer part we struggle with, abiding fully with the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to remain present on our part with God regardless of where and how we are otherwise occupied. Prayer, or if that sounds intimidating, talking with God, is, in truth, our first language, our native and spiritual tongue. Before human speech is learned and mastered, even unspoken language, the indwelling of God-image in each of us, the very breath of life breathed into us, contain the power and gift of prayer. No one is without it. Growing up in the world, whether in church or not, often teaches us to be “tongue-tied” when it comes to praying with God. We learn somehow that we are dis-abled to pray, as we grow to limit our ability for communication to a cultural norm of language and physical mannerisms. Prayer is as inherent as breathing, beginning with that first inhalation on our birth-day as the Word creates and the Ruach breathes life into creation.
God’s Word that creates us is the very beginning of our life in prayer, God having the first word and inviting us with the very breath we breathe, in sighs too deep for words, in the quiet thoughts of our minds, in the feelings in our core beings, and without need of speech, to join in prayerful one-ness with God. I have encountered many people who seem to have retained that connection, whose very being offers a sense of presence and communing and invitation to join them in something that our modern adult sensibilities and norms can’t quite grasp. I also meet many more who tell me they can’t pray even in the very act of speaking to me, offering evidence that they are perfectly equipped to communicate. God knows every manner of speech and language and ritual, and knows no limitation in being able to understand us. It is up to us to say no to the lies we’ve learned in the world that we can’t pray because we feel ill-equipped to speak out loud in public an eloquent, “worthy of being called Psalm 151” soliloquy.
From now through the end of July, we will be highlighting through our Soul Care sermon series a variety of ways to pray, as a path of restoration for our souls, each way a new opportunity to return to our spiritual core, to reclaim our voices in our lives of faith and relationship with God. Explore for yourself these conversational avenues to nurture yourself and reconcile with your identity as a child of God who by God’s very design can pray. Give yourself permission to care for you, and allow prayer to wrap around you like a specially-knitted shawl, just as you embrace life in prayer. Be with God in listening and speaking the beautiful and wonderful words of life that are eternal with Christ.
Blessings on the Journey,