On Prayer

the-light-withinThe body has its own sounds for prayer.

…groaning

…cries

…silence

Words can be bent to the shape of these sounds.

But, only if we allow our soul to sound itself into speech.

Let the Holy Spirit well up through your body.

These words came to me last week during worship. I feel the words were prophetic. They came with a sweet sense of inspiration. In addition, not only did I feel I knew exactly what they meant, they came moments before I realized the scripture we were to meditate on: Romans 8:24-28. The words I was drawn to were in verse 26.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.

…with sighs too deep for words. While the words of Romans 8:26 and those that came to me were not the same, what they spoke resonated. So often, prayer is about the words. But, in the Spirit of prayer – the Spirit behind and within a prayer – it is most often not words at all but something beyond words.

Suffering.

Yearning.

Compassion.

Suffocating Fear.

Awe.

In other words, sighs too deep for words.

These feelings are experiences that live within and through our body. And, they have a sound. Sometimes groaning. Sometimes crying; sometimes crying out. Sometimes breathlessness and silence. Each carry the weight and power of life-filled prayer. They are our body’s prayer, its way of crying out like the rocks would have at Jesus’ entrance to Jerusalem – if the people would have been silent. (Luke 19:40)

Sun_Light_EnergyIn prayer, the body can know what the mind yet has to find words for. The Spirit intercedes for what cannot yet be said. We can access and hear these prayers if we pierce our armor and shed our false sense of composure. If we can be in the Spirit. But, piercing our armor of acceptability and composure can be hard. Still, there are ways.

If you pretend to cry…long enough…real tears often come.

If you cry out, persistently and sincerely enough, true grief may voice itself and liberate the soul.

If you are quiet enough, fierce, full and forgotten feelings can be found underneath the anxiety of motionlessness.

Each is a prayer, a prayer which the Holy Spirit can coax, guide, and inspire to voice, but not always words. Words can be bent to the sounds of the soul, but only if we let it speak.

Let the Holy Spirit well up through your body.

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5 responses to “On Prayer

  1. Matt,

    Isn’t the Spirit awesome!! Yes, I relate to your thoughts and words and pics and concepts. May we all be constantly aware of that Spirit that pervades our wholeness (meaning mind, body and soul).

    Love you – Dad

  2. Matt, this is a great connection of the body awareness of prayer. I also love the images. I am going to share this with my colleagues who are specializing in the body work of psychotherapy. Love Dad

  3. im struck by the irony of how this works itself out in the churches ive attended. when singing songs that talk about standing in awe or standing on promises the congregation will invariably stand up if they arent already often at the behest of the worship leader. but give us a song that talks about kneeling before god or raising our hands in worship and we are like statues with the worship leaders unvoiced approval.

    ive clearly been attending the wrong churches.

  4. Wow… can’t tell you how much this means to me… confirmation. Release and the comfort of knowing I’m not crazy! There is no “proper prayer” or “proper praise” when we, intirely, have given ourselves to Him.

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