How My Body Has Fought My Prayers

Though I pray often, I’ve had a difficult time in prayer lately.  I’ve found that the words come so easily.  I pray about many things and for many things.  However, it seems that I’ve been using prayer to avoid the very things I’ve been praying about.  Bringing various things up in my prayers has allowed me to “get the off my chest” without really communing with God on those matters.  It is as if I have been a prayer hypocrite–praying almost to myself.  It is time once again for silence.  You may remember my facination with silence over the Lenten season. 

For the past few days, I have spent time in centering prayer.  Centeringprayer.com has this to say about centering prayer: 

“Centering Prayer facilitates the movement from more active modes of prayer — verbal, mental or affective prayer — into a receptive prayer of resting in God. It emphasizes prayer as a personal relationship with God. At the same time, it is a discipline to foster and serve this relationship by a regular, daily practice of prayer.”

This involves a 20 minute or so period of time in which you recieve God in relative or absolute silence.  A sacred word such as father, love, peace, God, etc, is chosen in a brief period of prayer.  This sacred word is used as a symbol of your invitation to consent to God’s presence and actions within you.  As your mind wanders or you engage in your thoughts, you return to that sacred word.

I think my physiology works against my prayer life.  No sooner did I set my timer for 20 minutes than my heart rate rose, I became tense in various parts of my body, and my mind raced across the myriad of thoughts that have been plaguing me of late.  20 minutes was a battle–not because it was a long time, but because my being seemed to be working against me.  I heard nothing, I felt no presence, I recieved no tangible divine inspiration.  However, I feel that I was in the presence of God.  Throughout the day my spirit has been more intune with the Lord and I have more peace than I have had in my prayer life in many weeks. 

My physical body worked against me.  My spirit worked against me.  This is very interesting.  I think I will spend less time in my selfish spoken prayers and more time in contemplative prayer–listening and receiving.

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4 responses to “How My Body Has Fought My Prayers

  1. It is hard sometimes to focus on Jesus in prayer for a period of time devoted just to Him. I relate with you in that afterwards you feel more intune with Jesus.

  2. I’ve been reading through Colossians lately and Paul uses words like struggling and wrestling to describe prayer. Could it be that this is what you are experiencing also. I find prayer in general unnatural because it’s about your heart, mind, and soul and God’s aligning, but we really want our own desires, wants, and felt needs… Keep struggling with silent prayer and experiencing God’s presence. I think you are on the right path.

  3. I find cenetring prayer meaningful, but it is difficult for me as someone who leans toward the ADD. I find that saying the Jesus Prayer works well for me. Some info on it is online here: http://kingofpeace.org/sermons2003-2004/sermon-102404.htm

    But whatever form it takes, it is good to find a way to be present with God without just having one-sided conversations and then signing off, like someone calling you on the phone, dumping a bunch of stuff and then hanging up before letting you speak.

  4. That’s hard to do. It takes a lot of self-discipline to be still for God for twenty minutes. Congratulations on the good effort. I envy your devotion.

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