Getting Honest About my Practice of Prayer
“Prayer is joyous breathing, by which the heavenly atmosphere is inhaled and then exhaled in prayer.” Andrew Murray
Recently I participated in a sweat lodge and was invited to pray out loud with witnesses. I found myself feeling very exposed by allowing others to hear my conversation with the Divine. For as long as I can remember I have had a private inner-conversation with God. In my mother’s home this was cultivated and encouraged. We had permission to pray in a natural way. Mom shared by example the sense of relief, healing and support we can experience through prayer.
Although I have this easy natural prayer life, I have been hesitant to show this side of myself to others. Prayer has been so intimate for me that praying out loud was like being naked in front of strangers.
Part of the fear of revealing my prayer life has been fear of judgment. Fear that outside of religious organizations, prayer is shunned or seen as weird, uncool. Prayer is vulnerable. Through it we are revealing our needs and desires in the most intimate way. Yet prayer is our strength. It helps us grow a sense of greater certainty with our inner-guidance.
When I am struggling with anything in my life and finally pause to converse with the Divine about my struggles I find immediate relief. There is a shift in the tension I’ve been carrying, a sense of support from the universe, even if nothing has changed in the outside circumstances. Often the outside circumstances do change once I have surrendered the outcome. And at a minimum I feel my perception of the circumstances changes. I feel less stuck.
When I’m stuck in a space of stress it is hard to see clearly for myself. It’s hard to see all my options or a way out. I unconsciously have given my power away to some situation or circumstance that feels bigger than me. It is in the simple act of prayer, sharing my heart with the Divine, that the breakthrough comes. Light shines into the darkness and helps me see clearly again.
Yet even with a lifetime practice of inner prayer I still forget to pray. It generally is when life is most challenging that I go long periods without remembering to ask for Divine support, without surrendering my will to the will of the Divine.
So I encourage you to pray. Regardless of your belief system, this conversation with a Higher Power is transformational. It frees us from our burdens. It clears space in our heart and mind so we can see the answers and hear our inner-voice.
Breathe in the breath of the universe. Breathe out your prayers of gratitude and requests for support from the Divine.
Thank you for this reminder, Natalie. In A Return to Love, Marianne Williamson reveals that at some point she just decided to stay on her knees …. nice idea I think.
I’ve found praying to be all that you’ve described so well. I can’t imagine a day going by without prayer and have learned how powerful prayers of thanksgiving are. You are blessed to have had the practice of prayer cultivated and encouraged early in life.