Much of my life, I viewed prayer as a chore to be done that I was always failing at. Like cleaning the toilet often enough, like paying the bills, like cleaning out cobwebs in the corners of my house. A lovely task that in coming to Christ, I both viewed as a new responsibility and yet one in which I was overwhelmingly unequipped.
About three years ago, I entered a very broken, humbling time in my life. Everything circumstantially was in shambles. Our family had experienced multiple deaths of close family and friends, we were deeply in debt financially, and I was exhausted. Out of desperation, I joined a prayer group that was committed to growing in prayer and meeting quarterly for prayer retreats for two years. It was through this practice in community, that I began to experience prayer as anything but a chore. It became a beautiful, intimate place of quieting my soul and for once, listening more than talking. I began to experience prayer as a gift, not as a chore or task.
As a profession, I am a birth doula, serving birthing mothers and families in their
pregnancies and ultimately walking with them side by side in their births. Over and over, I have seen a mother’s very breath and rhythm of breathing directly affect her baby’s heartbeat over a monitor. As she slowed her own breathing and began to breathe deeply and intentionally, the baby’s heartbeat went from frenetic to regular and steadied. This is such a great picture of what I have been experiencing in prayer and a powerful picture of the Lord’s intent for prayer for us. We know we are connected to Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, but prayer is the experience of allowing God’s very breath to steady and slow our frenetic heartbeat, our anxious living, resting completely in interdependence with Him.