Saturday, August 20, 2016

"Three Rs" Prayer Pattern

When I think of prayer, I often consider that I have to start out talking to God, as though somehow I have to keep the Lord entertained. But he already knows who I am, and even what my needs are. So perhaps I can use a different approach...if I can think of one. I'm grateful that there are
many kinds of prayer. Here is one you may not have seen before, but is a way to experience the reality of God's love and presence in a short, focused time. It's called "The 3 R's." *

REST:  first, stop (don't do this one while driving!). Get comfortable, whether sitting or otherwise, and consciously release any stress or tension you feel in your muscles or joints. Be still and silent, breathing quietly, and think "Breathe in rest -- breathe out rest."  Let the air and its life-giving oxygen be a reminder of our Creator's grace toward you in providing air and life. Just quietly stay and enjoy the presence of the Lord through that gentle breathing in and out, and your stillness. 

RECEIVE: out of that rest and stillness, allow yourself to be conscious of, and to openly receive, God's love for you. Perhaps you could open your hands, palms upward, or another gesture of receiving / gathering in, to focus your attention on receiving from your loving Father. Notice what you feel while you're in this stillness of simply receiving. 

RESPOND:  While feeling the closeness and love of God, his gracious acceptance and open arms receiving you, this could be a good time to respond with gratitude. No need to be eloquent or lengthy, just a word, a phrase or a sentence of your response to him, your love in return for his love. You could raise your hand, or simply smile or laugh in delight like a child being loved by a parent. 

Once you're finished sitting in stillness like this, it's okay to stop and consider what you experienced, even to say another prayer of gratitude to our Father for is graciousness toward us. The whole thing might take less than five minutes, yet it can add a tremendous amount of energy and calm to your normal routine. Why not give it a try and see how you benefit? 

*(This type of prayer is more fully described at as a recording under "The 3-R Prayer: Discerning the Presence of God - Robert Woodcock." It's part of the materials available for "Experiencing the Trinity," a three-day retreat organized and led by Odyssey in Christ, a Christian ministry dedicated to spiritual formation for leadership.)

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