Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Soul's Breath

If breathing air is essential for our bodies, then praying is the breathing that gives life to our soul.  Breathing is an natural things for our physical body.  No one has to worry about forgetting to breathe.  It is a natural thing that requires no intentional conscious thought.  However, such is certainly not the case with the well being of our soul.  We often forget to breathe the rarified spiritual air necessary for it to be nurtured toward a higher level of spirituality.  The traditional disciplines of the spiritual life are not just structured religious practices for the believer, but those things which open up our heart and mind to the presence of the life giving Holy Spirit.
When we think of prayer as a spiritual duty, or a holy habit, or something which we are supposed to do, it is likely going to be something which we do not practice with the kind of regularity that truly feeds the soul.  The right attitude toward prayer is not the one directed by oughtness, but the one guided by a genuine desire to be in the presence of our Father God.  The relationship God desires with each one of us is not one bound by duty, but one driven by love.  As this is true in all the important relationships of our daily life, so is it true of our relationship with God.
Prayer then is that human expression of an inner desire to be in the presence of God.  When we are driven only by our desire for His presence, we find ourselves in a place where getting things is no longer the thing which measures the success of our quiet time.  As we learn how to give breath to our soul, we discover that prayer is not about what we receive, but about how our heart and spirit is being fed and nurtured by the breath of God breathed upon us in those quiet moments.  Praying is also about breathing in and breathing out which gives life to our soul.  Breathe.

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