Jesus knelt down and prayer, “Father…”
Many often approach God with a list of needs or requests. Certainly, our loving God desires to hear requests and tend to our needs, but that is not the best place to start. When Jesus came before God, His soul was in deep turmoil, yet the first words He expressed weren’t so much related to what He wanted and needed, but rather to Whom He was speaking – Father. True prayer begins when we become deeply aware of the Person with Whom we are talking. The ancient Jews believed that prayer began with an intentional awareness of God’s presence: know “before whom you are standing.”[i] The deep, tear-filled prayers of Jesus flowed from the brokenness of His soul to a loving, listening and caring Father.
Reflection: Take time to be still in God's presence. Slow your breathing through the following exercise:
Inhale: Breathe in the peace of Christ. Exhale: Breathe out anxiety of the day. Inhale: Breathe in the gentleness of Christ. Exhale: Breathe out mental clutter and distraction. Inhale: Breathe in freedom in Christ. Exhale: Breathe out that which binds you. Inhale: Breathe in the joy of Christ. Exhale: Breathe out discouragement. Inhale: Breathe in the love of Christ. Exhale: Breathe out selfishness, and personal agendas.[ii]
Continue doing this until you feel ready to meet God according to His plan. Another great practice to help us remember to Whom we are praying is to address God by various names given to us in the Bible. Today, as you offer yourself to Him for His purposes, talk to God, using the simple phrases below. May you become more and more aware of the God’s nearness in your day. The following are some examples to use throughout lent.
Inhale: Breathe in, “Father God,” Exhale: Breathe out, “I belong to you.”
Inhale: Breathe in, “Healer.”
Exhale: Breathe out, “speak the Word, and I shall be healed.”
Inhale: Breathe in, “Shepherd.” Exhale: Breathe out, “bring home my lost son.”
Inhale: Breathe in “Holy One.”
Exhale: Breathe out, “keep me true.” Inhale: Breathe in “Lord.”
Exhale: Breathe out, “here I am.” Inhale: Breathe in “Jesus.”
Exhale: Breathe out, “have mercy on me.”