“Prayer is God’s life-giving breath,” said E.M. Bounds. “God’s purposes move along the pathway made by prayer to their glorious designs.” Prayer should be our first reflex. Prayer is spirit life and sustaining breath; if we don’t pray, we cannot partake in a mutual relationship with God. Prayer is an exchange of emotion, ideas, presence, and love.
A former fitness instructor, I would begin each exercise class with deep cleansing breaths. Deep breathing opens up the airways, is essential for preparing the body for exercise, and readies the heart for an aerobic workout. Deep breathing reminds exercisers to use their lungs to full capacity.
Intimate, worshipful prayer is like a spiritual cleansing breath. Using the same physical effect as we practice prayer as we do breathing, it might look something like this. Breathe in—thank God for who He is, not just what He does. Breathe out—confess our sin. Breathe in—thank God for His cleansing forgiveness. Breathe out—submit to God for His purposes. Breathe in—thank God for the answers; breathe out—own up to our lack of trust. Prayer can be a natural reflex, eliminate stress, help us manage our time ,and strengthen our faith.
In Colossians 4:2, the apostle Paul said, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” Webster’s dictionary defines “devote” as a verb; it means “set apart, give up exclusively to a person or purpose.” We are to set ourselves apart to allow God to breathe His life into dead situations. This will require turning everything over to God in prayer. Since there’s always something we would rather handle without God’s help, staying devoted to prayer and in continual fellowship with Him is a disciplined choice.
Is there an old, dry subject you’d rather not dig up? Something you’d passed off as dead and gone? God may be asking you to pay attention to what He would like to do, allow Him to do what he does best—and bring revival, restoration, and renewal. Choose to set aside time specifically for prayer, stay attentive and alert, keep an attitude of expectation and watchfulness. Are you on the lookout for ways God is working in your life? Are you attentive to how He is moving in your community? Are you observing His care and plan over our world events? Like deep cleansing breaths, devotion to prayer with alertness is a thankful response to the God who loves to hear our prayers. And now, pray on.
Heavenly Father, thank you for teaching us how to pray. Help us let prayer become a natural reflex. Show us how you mean for us to pray as we breathe in and worship you for your wonderful love. Lord we breathe out and allow all our frustrations, worry, stress, and, even as we confess it, sin to leave our memory so we can receive more from you. Thank you for being willing to give us so much. We are thankful for your generosity and your abundance. We praise you for your love for us. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Love this song by Matt Redman, ”Your Grace Finds Me.” Take a minute to listen to it and specifically sing the chorus, lyrics listed below. It really helped me understand how God wants me to pray as naturally as breathing, it might do the same for you:
So I’m breathing in Your grace
And breathing out Your praise
I’m breathing in Your grace
Forever I’ll be
Your grace finds me
Yes Your grace finds me
”God’s purposes are always moving to their high and beneficial ends. But the movement is along the way marked by unceasing prayer. The breath of prayer in man is of God.” ~ E. M. Bounds