Devotions based on David Benner’s book, Opening to God
Prayer is always personal and it is an expression of our heart and mind that is open to God in trust. Most of us pray worded prayers and that is a good beginning point. The words we use will usually fit somewhere in the categories of expressions of our faith, praise, hopes, and petitions. But we must remember that prayer is not just what we do as what God does in us. It doesn’t matter if our prayers sound perfect and follow a formula, but it is important that we open our selves to God. Sometimes we use conversational prayers and sometimes liturgical prayers written by others. These can be equally personal if we offer them up as our own. But if prayer doesn’t move beyond words, it will gradually dry up and become frustrating for us. We can pray with music that engages our emotions and body, as well as, other deep parts of ourselves. For some people the most meaningful prayer response is singing, playing, or listening to music that expresses words that they make their own. Music can be used by the Spirit to touch us in the deep places and it can become a vehicle of communion with God. Another prayer response might be to write a poem, paint a picture, create a dance etc. We are all called to be our unique selves and doing so is praying with creativity. We might pray with our hands and make the sign of the cross, or using prayer beads. We might pray with our feet by taking prayer walks or pilgrimages, or walking a labyrinth. Acts of service can be prayer, for when we give love to others in need, love is given back to God. Our role with prayer, as with love, is to allow it to flow through us rather than to block the flow. Let us embrace the ways God meets us in our uniqueness and create space for these encounters!