Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (ESV)
Pray Without Ceasing – The Lent Series – Part 3
I used to think that fasting was a way to make room for prayer. For example: instead of eating dinner, we should lock ourselves in our prayer closets and pray. But that's just a re-allocation of time and tasks. It's not anything particularly compelling.
When fasting becomes the way to sift through the mess of our lives, simplify, cultivate longing and vulnerability; you can’t help but pray in that environment. But it’s not so much words and form. Your life takes on an awareness of the connectivity you share with God and all things, and in a way, your life becomes a prayer.
Prayer is engagement with the Divine. We pray more often than we think we do. That quick, loud breath we take after something very good or something very bad happens? That’s a prayer. The laugh of joy a mother releases as her newborn baby is placed on her chest – her body still weak from pain, the cord not even cut; but that laugh is how one engages with a miracle. Tears shed at a graveside, or hospital bed; they’re prayers, too. Jesus seemingly impossible command, “pray without ceasing” turns out to not be that difficult after all.
Prayer is not something we do, but something we are a part of. My husband and I started a conversation the day we met. It's more than words; it's all of it – everything that has happened to us and between us informs and tells our story. We are a part of it, not just its script.
Prayer means God is here and we are connected. To pray is to give yourself over to the belief that you are sharing this moment, time and space, with the essence of all things. A beautiful and holy exchange.
Your whole life is a prayer.
Within the context of fasting – of creating absence, space, and vulnerability – prayer is our response and engagement to what we find in this place. It’s how we open up the real and raw truth of our lives to God and learn to listen. No airs and graces, no distractions and excuses.
“It is not enough to say prayers; one must become, be prayer, prayer incarnate. It is not enough to have moments of praise. All of life, each act, every gesture, even the smile of the human face, must become a hymn of adoration, an offering, a prayer. One should offer not what one has, but what one is.” Paul Evodkimov, “The Sacrament of Love.”