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.”




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?

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Roller Coast Grandma

A 70-year old granny decided that it was time she buckled in for her first roller coaster ride — I’m grateful the camera was rolling!



The silence on here is likely making me crazier than anyone else. My apologies, my friends, for the lack of posting lately. This silent stretch has been due to a few unusual factors:

1) Our nearly-always-healthy home has been anything but for much of the last month. Colds and flu bugs have cycled twice through our family, and I dare to dream we are nearly done with this new experience!

2) What started with sick children quickly turned into extremely fragmented night times, which led to sleep-deprived parents, which fueled the cycle of the sickness from the little ones to the big ones. Bundled into the short nights is the disruption of my early morning routines. This led to a breakdown in reading habits, exercise habits, and… my normal blogging time.

3) With health returning and nights stabilizing, I am hopeful that my morning routine, with all of its ingredients, can be regained. That means, more steady devotional habits, a healthier body, and more blogs posted!

Thanks for all of you who love me and my family. We hope your new year is off to a wonderful start!

Be Ready


They are up late.

The countryside was dark hours ago, and the chores are complete. On any other night, they would have headed to bed shortly after sunset, but tonight is no average night.

The master is expected to return.  He has sent word, and they will be ready for him.

This imagery is common to several portions of Jesus’ teachings. Luke 12:40 clarifies the point that lies just beyond the scene imagined above: “You must also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.”

Any combination of “Son of Man” and “coming” quickly turn heads toward the end of time, the final coming.

And rightfully so.

However, it dawned on me recently that there is a message that resonates in another way as well.

Just as Christ’s final return is unknown, so too is every move of God.

  • A season of stripping off layers.
  • A time of trial.
  • A green pasture of rest.
  • A wilderness of discipline.
  • An unimagined opportunity.

Such pages of life are not bookmarked in advance. They arrive unannounced, just like the master to his household.  But when they do arrive, the readied heart can open the door to them, confident that the Creator comes with them, that He is eager to dance the upcoming steps with us, to fill us with His life-giving rhythms to the extent that we take His hand and engage with His movements.

But one must be ready.

It is oh-so-easy to live with eyes blinded to anything beyond the immediate, failing to even consider where the Infinite One is seeking to infiltrate our grocery-getting, rugrat-raising, marriage-managing, schedule-surfing lives.

But that’s the importance of being ready.

To tie readiness to Christ’s final coming is to suggest that there is one day when being ill-prepared would be costly.

Truth be told, there is cost in every moment that we press forward with eyes closed and hearts hard to the Constant Companion.

Today as you lay your plans, top the list with this: Be Ready.

Be ready to listen up.

Be ready to speak up.

Be ready to step up.

Your day will not be a rat-race of randomness. Your Master has mixed up its ingredients, and He reveals His presence and plans on His own schedule.

So be ready.

Tuesday Trick: How to Slow Down Today

Gandhi was on to something when he declared: “There is more to life than increasing its speed.”

Heeding that wise observation, Lifehack has offered Seven Ways to Slow Down Today.

These are for you.

These are for today.

Take a breath, my friends.

You’re welcome.