The other day I rediscovered a prayer practice I used to use and found took me on some real adventures with God. I learnt it (or something like it) on a retreat about 10 years back, and have had some amazing encounters through it. If you want to try it, it goes something like this:
- Ground yourself; be mindful. Do this in whatever way you find helpful. For me, I like to try to consciously become aware of my senses, rather than paying attention to my thoughts. You might find focusing on your breathing, or a candle, or relaxing your body, or repeating a simple word or prayer helps. Then;
- Let God look at you. Just become aware of God’s gaze on you, and God’s presence.
- Imagine God asking you ‘What do you want me to do for you?’, as Jesus often asks the people who come to Him in the Gospels.
- Respond however feels right, and just let your imagination go wherever it wants to with it.
I’ve often been surprised what my response turns out to be, there in the moment with Jesus asking me what I want of Him. It’s often not what I thought.
When I did this the other day, my response was ‘I want to see You work through me. I want to be an empty space through which You can reach into the world.’
At that point, the image of ‘handmaids’ popped into my head; and I sensed the response immediately: ‘You are so, so much more than that to me. This is a partnership. I could break through and intervene through you if I wanted to, but that’s not how it works. You’re not a slave to be exploited. You want a push-button quick solution. I want the better way, not the easy way. It means putting in the hard work of relationship. You need to press into me, know me, follow me.’
Wow! I hope I’m brave enough.
I wrote about this in my diary, and mistakenly wrote it down as a ‘prayer practise’; but actually I do need to practise this prayer, to have more God encounters to challenge me, to help me know God more closely, and so that there can be more God and less self manifesting in my life.