By CBF field personnel Elket Rodriguez
“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62:1-2, NIV
My prayer life has evolved to incorporate different styles of prayer as I mature in my relationship with God and as I adapt to the different seasons of my life. During my youth years, I spent many hours praying alone by myself in a room, following Jesus’ recommendation in Matthew 6:6. But then I married, had children and began working. I then adapted my prayer time to that reality. Early morning prayer and meditation are the norm, following Matthew 6:33. I still spend hours alone in prayer to God, trying to replicate the practice of the Sabbath to rest in God—but mostly on the weekends.
My prayers have also changed with time. I pray more for others, practice contemplative silence (wordless prayer) to listen to God’s voice and pray the psalms out loud to nurture and liberate my soul (Lectio Divina). Psalms 62 and 139 are among my favorites to pray because they open my heart to God in worship.
Nowadays, I spend much of my prayer asking God to open the eyes of this world to God’s justice, mercy and love. Even though, my prayer is very focused on God and God’s majesty, I often request God to help us Christians understand how we can make God’s presence feel more real to our neighbors in practical and tangible ways through our Prayers of the People 56 http://www.cbf.net/pray actions. I would love to see a church that incarnates the new humanity in Christ that serves the “least of these,” including but not limited to immigrants and refugees who are among the most prone to suffer from exploitation.
Given the increase of evil, injustice and indifference I am often relying on breath prayers crying out “Hosanna!” and “Maranatha!” to God. On a given day, I would use different approaches to prayer depending on where I think the Holy Spirit is leading me.
Pray, Practice, Ponder: Breath Prayer Breath prayers are short prayers that can be said in rhythm with the breath. They can be one word, like Elket’s examples above, or more than one word. Often, breath prayers come from scripture. Below are a few examples. Find one that resonates with you, or create your own. Repeat it a few times with the cadence of your breath. Then write it down and put it in a place you will see it to help you remember this prayer throughout the day. Jesus (inhale), have mercy on me (exhale). You are the vine (inhale), I abide in you (exhale). Speak Lord (inhale); your servant is listening (exhale). Be still (inhale), and know (exhale).