What is prayer to you?
For me, it tends to be a one-sided conversation with God, where I tell Him thank you for this, and please that, and please watch over this person. I don’t often sit quietly and listen.
This Lenten season, I’m seeking to change that.
There is a prayer garden set up in the Children’s Library at my church, and when I visited recently, I felt so at peace in that room. There are stations set up with crosses, water, spices, things that appeal to all of the senses and help someone pray in different frames of mind.
One of my favorite stations is the Prayer Labyrinth. The painting by church member Mike Moyers (you can click here go to his website to see more of his beautiful artwork) is bright and full of color, yet it invites you in to contemplation as you follow the path to the clear center.
At that station is an explanation of the labyrinth, as well as some handouts with a finger labyrinth similar to the painting. As I’ve traced the pathways of the labyrinth with my finger, I find myself praying fervently at first, but then letting go the longer I follow the trail, until I’m quiet and listening.
The same thing happens when I run. I often pray as I run, and I find myself eagerly asking for this and that, and then as I settle into a rhythm of the sounds of my footsteps and breath, I quieten and my mind lets go. It’s sometimes when I have clarity of ideas, or solutions to problems, or just peace for a little while.
I need to seek more of the state I discovered with the prayer labyrinth or running where I listen instead of talk. To do that, I will be intentional in seeking:
- Time – quiet time when I’m not watching the clock for my next appointment
- Space – peaceful space with no (or few) distractions
- Quiet – hard to find amidst the noise of today, but essential to a peaceful feeling
How are you expanding your prayer life this Lenten season?