Prayer. What is it? Well, that depends person to
person. There really isn't a 'right' answer or a
'wrong' answer. Prayer is communicating with God.
Communication happens when the sender sends a
message to the receiver.
Pretty simple, yea? Sometimes we communicate with
words and sometimes we communicate with our
nonverbal--our bodies and what not.
When communication is hindered--or not done in a
clear way--anxiety, confusion, and even anger
emerge. When communication doesn't happen clearly
chaos can ensue resulting in complaining to someone
about someone else as an attempt to a sense of calm.
What forms when this happens, when a two party
conversation turns into a three person complaining
session, is a triangle.
Triangles create tension and unneeded stress.
Triangles, when they don't reflect the Love of the
Trinity, can hurt. Triangles can derail the
development of true community by preventing
communication between the original sender and
receiver. Mole hills quickly become mountains when
unhealthy triangles form from lack of
Y'all, we just went down a rabbit hole. What in the
world does this have to do with prayer? Let me
attempt to make the leap back from triangulation to
Prayer is the practice that draws us back to the
heart of God when we find ourselves immersed in the
chaos, confusion, and, yes, even the celebrations of
life. Sometimes life is so good we don't pause to
pray. Other times life has us so down we don't know
what to pray.
Yet prayer is the place where we communicate with
God. If we aren't praying, and praying can look like
many things, we aren't hearing that still small
voice that says "You are mine. I love you. Follow
Prayer is what keeps us in communication with God.
Prayer above all is a way of listening for God's
voice and finding one's own whisper. Voicing one's
concerns through prayer--both as individuals and in
community before God--raises our own consciousness;
voicing concern enables us to hear the voices of
those long silenced and even those hushed silences
in ourselves; voicing concern enlivens our
imaginations as we listen attentively or
accidentally for God's hopes and dreams.
Prayer, friends, is where God initiates Christ's
claim and call on us, and prayer is where the Spirit
prompts us to action. Prayer strengthens the rhythm
in us between faithful action and deep
When we pray something happens to us. Plain and
simple. The more we pray, a better sense of who we
are, to whom we belong, what really matters in this
life, and why--these things deepen and solidify. Our
hearts grow stronger the longer we are in prayer. It
becomes less flighty and fragile, sarcastic and
cynical. Once in a while, our hearts might even
Y'all, take time to pray. Like seriously pray. Pause
from the "pray for cousin Billy and brother
Clarence." Not that offering these up to God isn't
okay. That's not what I'm saying.
What I am saying, or wondering 'out loud', is what
do we use to triangulate ourselves from God? What do
we do to avoid praying, actually praying with God?
If prayer is how we communicate with God, I wonder
what, if anything, might be standing in the way of
the message God-the-Sender is messaging our way?
I like this definition of prayer: Prayer is the
interactive conversation with God about what we and
God are thinking, feeling, and doing together.
Take time to allow God to search you and know you,
to transform and transfigure your heart. Allow
Christ to draw near to you and heal the wounds that
no one, not even you, can see. Take a moment and
don't talk about baseball or politics but allow the
Spirit to breathe upon you a freshness you haven't
felt in a while.
Pray, beloved sisters and brothers. You never know
what you might discover...
[Adam Quine, pastor of First Presbyterian Church