Prayer - just go for it

Beth Barnett considers what it means to be human – and what that means for our contact with God.

Everyone has to eat. It’s a basic requirement of being a human. It’s compulsory for our well-being. But what we eat… well, that has endless variety.

Everyone needs to love and be loved. It’s a basic requirement of being a human. It’s compulsory for our well-being. But who we love… that has endless variety too. Some people have strong family love, others have chosen passion, and others thrive on the love of close lifelong friends. Many of us have lots of different kinds of loves in our life.

Everyone needs activity. It's a basic requirement of being a human. It’s compulsory for our well-being. But we can do crossword puzzles, or run marathons, knit or dance the cha-cha, or do a million other things to express our creativity and skill.

Isn’t it amazing that some things about being human can be so essential, but still offer us so many choices. The only thing we can’t choose (and still be healthy) is not to eat, love or do.

I wonder what other things you think are essential to being a healthy human that also come in endless variety?

I think prayer is like this. Being connected to God in some way, I think, is a key part of being human.

Connecting with God means:

  • being part of something bigger than just your own patch of life;
  • knowing a way to think outside the present moment, whether it’s just a typical day, terrifying, tragic or totally awesome;
  • keeping a grip on how big the universe is, and keeping track of both how small and yet important we are.

This connection to God – let’s call it ‘prayer’ – whatever your understanding of who God is, is like food for our spirits. And just as food comes in millions of different delicious and nourishing forms, so does prayer.

Prayer can be silence – just giving a few moments to feel the peace of God.

Prayer can be a breath in and out – stopping to remember that it’s good to be alive, and to remember that our life has been given to us, and is of great worth.

Prayer can be cheering – letting ourselves be overcome by joy and gratitude.

Prayer can be talking – using words to get our feelings, questions, worries and wonderings out.

Prayer can be feeling – a sense of compassion for someone in need or the feelings that come when we hear news that makes us hope or grieve or feel angry.

Prayer can be action – sometimes we find ourselves doing something that has both a practical significance and also a deep meaning for us.

What else?

Beth is currently undertaking doctoral studies in the area of New Testament examining the constructs of maturity in the letters of Paul. She has held pastoral roles in Baptist and Anglican churches and been a long-term volunteer in the missions of Scripture Union, for whom she is a freelance resource writer and trainer. She teaches units in Children and Families Ministry and Biblical Studies at Stirling College, as well as guest lectures in other Melbourne, Australia, colleges. Internationally, she is a writer and facilitator in the Child Theology Movement.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Send this to a friend