Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Col. 4:2
So much good takes place in the mysterious environment of prayer. So many wrongs are set right. So many new foundations are laid. As I consider the many benefits of prayer I am so thankful to God for the countless graces that I can attribute to this most effortless of disciplines. From the wellspring of its daily renewal I get to drink deeply of God’s truth, purpose, and direction for my life
Prayer is where I get to examine all the different aspects of my life in light of the Lord’s counsel. In prayer I find my Way—instructions for my day, and for my life. There, God teaches me new truths and reminds me of ones I have forgotten. There, the Holy Spirit identifies whatever tendencies there are in me that obstruct His Way.
In prayer I defer all the considerations of my life to God. I assume more readily the posture of a servant rather than that of a labourer for God. Like Mary who saw herself as the handmaiden of the Lord, I wait in order to let God’s will be more freely expressed in me. Prayer is where I receive the relationship that God most desires to have with me.
In prayer I get to observe how I relate to all the different people and circumstances that surround me. I discover how I really feel about life. I get to sort through and re-establish my priorities—what God is calling me to, and what He is not. I also come to recognize my most profound desires as well as the fears that often influence my response to life.
Prayer helps me let go of the anxious grip I tend to otherwise hold myself with throughout the day. It loosens my fears, my worries, and the many burdens I’ve unnecessarily assumed for myself. If only for those few moments, everything stops. I know that I have returned to a place that has much more to do with eternity than the turmoil I have otherwise been living in
In prayer I once again lay down my life before God. It belongs to Him and I enter the freedom whereby I am able to give myself more fully to the Lord’s purposes. In doing so, I return to my most simple sense of self. There is nothing to do, no one to be, and nowhere else to look for myself than where I am. The only horizon I seek is the one right in front of me. Instead of the illusion that life is something I possess, I am once more reminded that it is actually something that is given to me. Moment by moment, I get to offer it all back to God in gratitude for the relationship I am in.
In prayer I place myself in the hands of the Potter, ready to be fashioned in any way that pleases the Lord. I try to remain malleable to God’s will and to wherever the Holy Spirit might lead me in my prayer. Whatever Jesus is in me, that is what I wish to be. In this submissive posture I learn much about the ways of God.
And finally, at its most sublime, prayer is where I get to pull away from my usual orbit of self-reference in order to simply gaze at Jesus. In the solitude of prayer, all other definitions of my life pale in comparison to the wonder of contemplating the beauty of God’s ways.