Praying in Triangles

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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 communication...

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...

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 me."

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 contemplation.

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 soar.
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 in Lincoln]


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