pray always?


I have much to learn about prayer. Really, for a Bible school graduate, it’s somewhat embarrassing that I’m not yet a groomed-and-tuned professional in the area. I mean, it’s just “talking to God”, right? Or wait, isn’t it a private and focused meditative experience? Or…no…it’s warfare! Corporate and pulsing and full of sweat and blood.

There’s more to prayer than any lecture or book reveals.
Even scripture itself is varied in the use, expression, and purpose of prayer though the Christ himself seemed to keep it simple: pray like ‘this’ (The Lord’s Prayer), don’t put on show, be confident that the Living God does hear and will answer and will even intercede on our behalf (um, whoa).

And then there’s this:
“Pray always”

I’ve heard too many interpretations, explanations, and conversations on this statement. At the end of the day it remains:
1) Impossible
2) The way to pray.

When I look at my life I see very few things which happen always and which are impossible to stop of my own accord. The most obvious, to me, is the act of respiration. Breathe in. Breathe out. Heart pumping. Blood moving. Air exchanging deep within the unseen closets of my body.

Unstoppable.
Essential.
Life-giving.

The other night, my eldest son was struggling. When this son struggles, the earth shakes and the only rock I can rely is the Christ as everything else falls away. As the hour passed and some girlfriends stopped by and the struggle continued, I continued to see the need within to avoid pity, to be still, and to stay rooted so he had something to fall on, when he finally fell.
At one point, it was time to step back into his room. A close friend requested if she might pray with me. I stopped and fumbled with my words. The gesture was genuine. And praying together is good.

But the prayer Jerah needed at that moment was the breathe-in-breathe-out Presence of Christ,
in me, for him, praying always.

He did not need to hear someone talking to God about him.
I did not need to hear words which made me feel better.
I did not even need the cozy sense of God-and-tears that comes from a prayer well-said.

I needed God.
And my son needed God.
And we always need God.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in.

Pray always.

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