Our Father: A Meditation
Something in my soul feels like it's jilted and hyperventilating. Every turn feels a bit hap-hazardous: COVID-19, the election, national unrest, racial tension, global news, school shutdowns, weather, you-name-it. For the first time in our lives (for many of us) we are navigating through four major and separate crises ... all at the same time. Medical, political, racial, and economic turmoil is wreaking havoc. We are living overwhelmed lives.
So, here's what I know: I don't need to cook or clean or run ... I need to pour out what is buried between my heart and chest and release myself in prayer.
Prayer = the unsolicited and underused power that connects me with the Holy of Holies.
Except that my mind is jumbled. When I go to pray, it feels like I hit a cosmic wall. Where does one start when there is so much to ask? Adele Calhoun writes that "Because it is natural for the mind to make random associations and wander off in a million directions, we need a prayer that recalls our soul to its center in God". I wonder if such a prayer exists in 2020?
I stand up and head over to a chair. My knees drop to the floor and nothing comes out of my mouth. My mind feels like it's running a million miles per hour, spinning uncontrollably. I try to force thoughts appropriate to send to the God of the Universe, but I don't know where to start. Searching for anything to make sense of what lies beneath. It's static and spotty, and then suddenly, Jesus' prayer enters my mind like a soft flash of light.
"Our Father who is in heaven"
My heart quickens, I need the reminder that God is above all and in all. The sweet melody comes to mind, "Blow, wind of God, with wisdom blow until our minds are free, from mists of error, clouds of doubt, which blind our eyes to Thee". The prayer time that started hectic and encased by fear, doubt, and anxiety now lighter. "Our Father who is in Heaven" rings out like a beacon of light. My Abba Father, who sits on the everlasting throne, hears me and sees me. In five, short, beautiful words, my insides become less muddled and I am reminded of who God is and who I am in relation to Him. My Father who reigns in heaven and here on earth.
"Hallowed be Your name"
The Greek word ἁγιάζω means: “to hallow,” “to treat as holy,” or “to reverence" ... and here lies the problem. Not hallowed be Jen's name or my family's name. Jesus reminds us of the truth that no matter what happens around us, The Triune God of the Universe will be glorified. What transcribes in the microseconds of my day usually propels my success, my knowledge, my money, my pride. But, when I hit my knees and whisper "Hallowed by Your name" all of that nonsense shatters. I am here to serve, to love my enemies, to count the cost. Half of my problems cease to exist with that proclamation alone ... that this life is about God and not me. Indeed, the more pertinent issues arise now that I'm out of the way. In fact, the realization that I am on my knees, bowing, and exalting my Lord humbles me. Oh Abba Father, forgive me. It's not about my name Lord, but Yours. How I need to be reminded of this daily.
"Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven".
Maybe Jesus did have the right prayer for every-single-person any day-of-the-year. When the disciples asked Him to teach us how to pray, Jesus didn't simply lead by theory and explanation. He taught from the place of perfect praxis and the sweat and blood of His brow. I especially love that He prayed with words we can use in the here and now. Jesus' prayer never needs to be changed. Pick a spot and do it. My chair proves that prayer can turn any ordinary piece of furniture, or place, into an intimate, loving, and exceptionally (rare) space of "holy ground". We all have access to the burning bush.
My physical and mental posture always shifts after prayer. I usually end up curled into a ball somehow. My spine no longer straight but bowed. Begging for Jesus to come, to help, to save, to forgive, to clean, to heal, to give, and to come again. Thankful for the graces of the day. For food, family, and provisions. If anything, with our growing age and friendship, prayer is enriched ... alive and the undercurrent of everything I do.
And my soul breathes.
I wipe the tears from my puffy cheeks and stand up slowly. What was once so jumbled and frantic is now calm and released. Because of prayer, I remember that I am in fellowship with the Triune God. My resilience increases because God is with me. The crises are still there, but they are entrusted to His care. Because of my time with Him I know I am not alone. And I'm thankful and hopeful. His Spirit lives in me and whispers, "Daughter". I am accepted and loved and called His very own.
And that's what happens when we pray.
Presence, purpose, hope, and renewal ... all just a prayer away.