8 Words to Rescue Your Prayer Life

hard-to-pray1I suck at praying.

Perhaps no pastor struggles so seriously to humbly and persistently place himself at throne of grace as the fool penning this post.

In the realm of prayer, I am consistently inconsistent and faithfully unfaithful.

Don’t get me wrong: If I tell you that I will pray for you, my conscience will force me to do so. I’m not fake; I’m just weak.

Recently my desire to be a better pray-er has grown more desperate. I have been casting hooks into every pond I can find, in the hope of discovering some rhythm or technique that provide me a way forward. Journaling, silence, Lectio Divina, listening prayer, the daily office, prayer guides, praying scripture – if there is a way to try it, there is a way to screw it up. Trust me. On this I am an authority. Yet I am trying.

Suffice it to say that I am currently being guided by a prayer tool Intended to help me fall into a steady march (consistency), while also providing me words to pray (content).

Last night, I was given this phrase to pray:

“Let my bones be steeped in your love.”

Oh.

My.

Lord.

If a prayer life can be built around eight words, I may have just found them. For real. Here’s why I think you should also consider making this single sentence your own.

“Let my bones be steeped in your love.”

bones insideThere’s something unusually earthy about bones. When I was 19, I discovered a skeleton on a canoe trip. It was in a remote cave, and who knew how long it had been there! That’s the thing about bones. They last. A long time. Skin and tissue and muscle break down and fade away — and what gets left behind? Bones! Or consider cancer reports. News of spots or tumours or lumps can be followed up with optimism over treatment options. But sometimes the voice adds, “It’s moved to her bones.” Replies get quieter, if spoken at all. What gets into the bones is there to stay.

Beyond their resilience to decay, bones are wondrously and simultaneously lightweight and strong, fairly key qualities for an effective skeleton. Check out the inside of a bone, and you see part of the secret — they appear sponge-like, slightly resembling the porous center of a Crunchie bar.

“Let my bones be steeped in your love.”

steepingFor the vast majority of us, “steeping” is a tea term. It speaks of a soaking that extracts flavour or mixes substances. Within the prayer above, God’s love is part of the recipe. In fact, there are only two ingredients. The other? My bones!

My Crunchie-bar bones are to take their place in the vats of God’s love. A soaking is to take place, so intense in time and temperature that my inner texture and tone change — just as a wet sponge appears so obviously unlike a dry sponge. The soaking invites fullness and overflow. Something of God’s core — His faithful and enduring love — pours over me as I pore over it. Yet this “poring” is deeper than intellectual consideration, as if a few moments of thought might deliver me into the greatest mystery of the universe — divine love. Remember, this is “steeping”. Tea doesn’t try. Hot water doesn’t clutch and grab flavour and nutrients from the leaves it holds. Those same leaves don’t push and press to facilitate the transfer. Tea doesn’t strain. Tea just steeps. It settles in and sits. If tea breathed, it would breathe deeply and slowly, as if each breath had subtle yet sufficient power to help the steeping take place.

The whole prayer begins with “let”. There is recognition of a somewhat passive posture. We cannot make this happen. One cannot steep by force. It’s gifted and given, not even like a box one unwraps from which an item removed and enjoyed. Once again, this is steeping. Two substances unwind into each other, with surrender and vulnerability. An undoing takes place toward a “new doing”. This gift is given and opened insofar as we are given and opened.

“Let my bones be steeped in your love.”

Allow the core of my being, the lasting and living frame within the person that I am, steadily soak up the empowering and enabling reality of Your love, Father. Free me from “frantic” and insulate me from “insecure” by filling the cavities of my inner chambers with revelation of Your affectionate faithfulness.

“Let my bones be steeped in your love.”

Can eight words rescue your prayer life? That’s tough to say. Would you experience a rebirth of sorts if your bones were steeped in God’s love? That seems like a given. You’ve got one mouth. Now you’ve got one sentence. Perhaps you’re perfectly set up for what needs to happen next in your prayer life.

Steep away, my friends!

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailYOUR TURN: Your input makes this post better!

  • What have you tried in the way of “prayer experiments”? What helped? What didn’t?
  • Any particular prayers or phrases that help you focus?

[You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or email, in the upper right corner of this page. Or find me on Twitter: @JasonBandura.]

One thought on “8 Words to Rescue Your Prayer Life

Leave a Reply