I can't tell you how often I write an essay or a blog post and it turns out to be only the very beginning of the idea. It's like a seed planted to germinate, and then all of these other ideas start popping to the surface-- little poppies and daisies and dandelions of ideas--that is the beauty of writing I suppose.
So anyway, earlier this week I wrote about prayer and how important it is to pray for your children, but also how prayer, in general can be a bit strange sometimes. How it can also be a challenge if you, like most women, have a very busy mind that is constantly reminding you about to-do lists, and forgotten tasks, and children's needs, and meal preparation and who you need birthday presents for and the syrup you forgot to pick up at the grocery store (gosh darnit!).
And then it hit me, like 36 hours after I wrote that post...the fact that prayer is SO hard sometimes because our brains are so jumpy and busy is EXACTLY why we NEED, let me say that again, NEED, prayer.
Prayer, when practiced regularly, is as effective as meditation in a person's life...mostly because it can often BE a form of meditation. For me, prayer is a time when I sit down, quiet down, and most importantly quiet my brain to hear what God might have to say about all of the craziness in my life. I suppose that is where prayer differs from meditation-- in most meditation practices you are purposely focusing on the moment and perhaps one word or idea and not allowing other ideas into your mind....whereas with prayer, I sit down, release all that is on my mind and HOPE that God fills my mind with his words, his thoughts, his ideas about my life.
While attending a recent women's retreat through my church the keynote speaker Jan Johnson suggested that meditation on God's word actually become a part of our prayers. I've been putting her suggestions into practice the last couple of weeks and I can tell you that there is a sense of release and of peace that accompanies the practice of meditation in this way.
For example, she suggested, take the first part of Psalm 23
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me besides still waters.
He RESTORES my soul.
Jan suggested that you close your eyes, and create a mental image of what this would actually look like for you. What would it feel like to truly be in a place where God had provided for ALL of your needs (which in many instances and on many days He has! we just choose to not see it that way)? Once you create a picture of what that means to you, just sit in that place and meditate on that truth, those words, that picture, for as long as you can; 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes--whatever works for you.
Doesn't that feel better than living in the perpetual state of want and need and frenzy that so often feels like the pace of our lives.
So anyway, I just wanted to share that with you. I wanted to say that even though prayer is hard because our minds our noisy, it is also necessary and crucial because our brains our noisy.
I also think the more we practice praying, the easier it becomes. It becomes choppy and impersonal when we are not doing it regularly...kind of like when you haven't talked to a friend in a long time and aren't really sure how to reconnect at first...but then, slowly, and surely, you pick up right where you left off.