Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Breath Prayer

After coming out of a season of loss....

Going through this past year has made me recognize once again how out of control my life really is. I don't mean that I've been going wild and crazy. I mean that any sense I may get that I am in control is just an illusion. My life is in the hands of the One who made me and determined my days long before my time on earth began. As Patrick and I have been moving through yet another busy summer, I have found myself singing a new song- living my life differently than before. Each day I seem to begin with a prayer that comes from deep within. While I've been keenly aware of this prayer occurring in my own heart and mind, I didn't realize that it had a name.

The prayer started after reading from Ephesians 1:1-14. Take some time to read it if you'd like. I was most struck by the phrase, "to the praise of His glory" which is mentioned several times. As I spent time reading and praying through the passage, I was filled with a sense of contentment, purpose, and a quiet resolve to be with what is. It was as if I was letting go- willing and wanting to go where God leads. Each morning I began to say this prayer to myself and to God. During the day sometimes I would find myself uttering the words, "To the praise of your glory..." Sometimes these words would be said at the closure of a prayer right before "amen." Sometimes the words were uttered out of desperation as I begged God to give my heart-brokenness meaning. Sometimes the words were spoken as I was letting go of my idol of control and reminding myself before God that I'm in His story not He in mine.

I've been reading through several different books over the past few months. I've even re-read a few which is very unlike me. I've been encouraged by how the same truths I read years ago have new meaning. The idea of a breath prayer is something I came across in a book called Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton. The book has been a refreshing reminder that I should arrange my life in a way that is unique to my own individual needs and desires in order to bring about Spiritual transformation more readily.

In the book, Barton talks about a breath prayer arising "from the depths of our desire and need." She goes on to say that it could more accurately be called a "gut prayer" because it comes from a deep gut level- not the mind where most of our words come from. As I read through this section of her book, I realized that I'd found my current breath prayer.

"To the Praise of YOUR glory."

Those words have been uttered time and time again this summer.

When I felt the emptiness of loss...
 "To the Praise of Your glory."

When I was tired and lonely...
"To the praise of Your glory."

When I was facing a stretch of single parenting...
"To the praise of Your glory."

When I started washing Patrick's clothes yet again so he could re-pack for the next youth trip...
"To the praise of Your glory."

When I sent Patrick out the door with a kiss...
"To the praise of Your glory."

When I didn't want to go to work...
"To the praise of Your glory."

When I got to work to find that I was assigned a women who lost her baby... 
"To the praise of Your glory."

When I held that mothers hand...
"To the praise of Your glory."

When I rejoiced over the safe delivery of my niece...
 "To the praise of Your glory."

When I've felt unsure of our future...
"To the praise of Your glory."

I've been amazed at how such a simple prayer, which can be said in one breath, can fit so many different circumstances. It can be my request as I wake up, my attitude adjustment, my confession, and my praise at the end of the day. The prayer has brought me peace and re-focused my heart. Maybe sharing my hearts' most recent prayer will encourage someone else out there. Maybe you need to make these words your own. They are simple words yet I think they are powerful in their return.








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