So, have you ever had the experience of being so stressed out (or angry, or scared, etc.) that you forgot to breathe? Breathing is something I often take for granted – it seems so automatic, I rarely think about it unless I’m having a problem breathing. (Anyone with seasonal allergies or asthma will understand…)
I’ve noticed my stress level starting to creep up a bit with classes on the horizon and a whole bunch of other important work that needs to be done yesterday… so I keep telling myself to breathe…the brain needs oxygen after all.
This got me thinking about prayer…I realize that there times when I am “in the groove” with regular prayer, when it seems effortless to walk through life keenly aware of God’s presence and action in my life and the world. There are other times when I struggle…when it doesn’t come so easily, when it seems like a chore, when I think I don’t have time… Relationship with God is much like human relationships with respect to my response sometimes.
I think the trick is to acknowledge that my energy for this relationship has a natural rhythm, an ebb and flow, and to not beat myself up when it’s more ebb than flow. If I can look at prayer as similar to breathing, then even when it’s not so automatic, I can manage to be open to some “oxygen for the soul” when I most need it.