Often times when we start to pray it takes time to quiet and settle ourselves; to clear our busy minds and refocus on who we are praying to. That’s why it’s so important that we learn to be still.
This is the first step in a deeper prayer life. Stillness and silence prepare our minds and prime our hearts to pray from a place of greater peace, faith and adoration.
When our kids were little I would sometimes walk through the door after several days away, only to be greeted by one of them yelling, "Dad, have you got anything nice for me?" or "Dad, my Maridiths not sharing", or even, "Dad, bubba hit me.
"Well, I’m so glad you’ve missed me!" I would call down the hall. "Any chance of a hug in here?" I wanted them to acknowledge my presence before bombarding me with requests. To look me in the eyes and say very simply, "Welcome home, Daddy!"
In a way, this is what Jesus models in the opening lines of the Lord’s Prayer. Before we launch into a long list of all the stuff we need—daily bread, forgiveness of sins, deliverance from evil—he tells us to pause, to address God affectionately as "Our Father", and respectfully, "hallowed be your name".
Prayer can easily become much like we live our life. Distracted and driven, we step into the courts of the King without introduction, without slowing our pace or lifting our face to meet his gaze. But the sages teach us that true prayer is not so much something we say, nor is it something we do; it is something we become. It is not transactional but relational. And it begins, therefore, with an appropriate awareness of the One to whom we come.
Four simple steps to practice as we learn the process of being still: relax (get comfortable), breathe (calmly and deeply), speak (a prayer word or phrase) and repeat (when distractions come simply return to the beginning).
“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV