Ah, prayer… my friend has a sign by her bed that says, “Pray every day”. I saw it and I said, “Oh, I love that, how nice” and she said, “yeah, if only I could do it!” Isn’t that the truth? We all have good intentions. We all know we should pray, we have been told that praying will bring us closer to God. Why don’t we do it?
Along these same lines, I have found yoga and it has changed me. For years, I could not be bothered to do yoga because I needed to run for at least 30 minutes and lift weights and sweat a lot or else it wasn’t a work out. I could not be bothered with learning to breathe and have proper alignment and find stillness and learn life skills. I had to rush around like a maniac sweating and punishing myself to fit in my jeans. Try telling me otherwise and I would think you just had too much time on your hands.
But as I got older and realized I wanted stillness and peace and I wanted to be centered…I pursued yoga. Okay, let’s be honest, I pursued it because I heard it gives you great abs and makes you look taller! Anyway, I got there and I was hooked. Over the years, it has become so much a part of me, when I don’t do it, I don’t feel right. Yes, there are physical benefits but it is the interior benefits that keep me going back for more.
So, here’s the thing…I thought I didn’t need it. I thought it was good for other people. I thought I was fine running around like the energizer bunny. I was surprised and awed by the transformation that took place when I started doing yoga. It’s a subtle shift in awareness that eventually changes you completely.
Back to prayer…Do you think you don’t need it? Do you think it’s for people who have too much time on their hands? Do you believe it can transform you?
What does prayer mean to you? How do you begin?
“To pray means to open your hands before God. It means slowly relaxing the tension which squeezes your hands together and accepting your existence with an increasing readiness, not as a possession to defend but as a gift to receive.”
–Henri Nouwen from With Open Hands
I love that. Look…those words I love…open, relaxing, accepting, receive. Doesn’t that sound nice? I love the image of being ready to receive a gift. It makes me hopeful, excited. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Won’t it be fun to find out?