“God has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
I love my faith community. It is a place that has provided me comfort in times of great sorrow. It is a place that healed my broken spirit. Mostly, it is a place of great joy where everyone is happy to see you and accepts you for who you are. We are an open and affirming community that is intellectually and spiritually stimulating. We are an action orientated organization that continuously is performing service work in our local region as well as in our country.
My church and the people who belong to it have helped my sons and I become better people. For me specifically, it has helped me become a more prayerful and mindful person.
When I think about prayer or the act of praying, I think about it in two ways: first as a conversation with God and second as an intention. I have a vague memory of praying on my knees beside my bed when I was a little girl and also of reciting the Lord’s Prayer as I lay in bed before I went to sleep. I’d like to think of those times as a sort of introductory training on getting familiar with God in a more private way.
Now that I am further along in my faith journey, my prayers are more eclectic in nature. Sometimes, I find a prayer in a song. Marc Cohn’s “One Safe Place” is especially meaningful to me. Other times, I will enjoy a moving meditation with God while I am running. Usually, this involves an actual plea or praise that I recite out loud. I often ask for help for others, especially the boys. I always ask God to watch over those that I know that are going through a challenge in their life. When I pray like this, I feel centered and closer to the Great Mystery.
But I have also had some powerful prayerful experiences in moments of stillness. This usually happens during yoga and is more spontaneous. I have had divine experiences during some of my practices that need no words; it is like an energy flow that goes directly to God. When this happens I feel as if my soul has been cleansed and renewed.
It is through yoga that I learned to set an intention either for the moment, the day, or the week. Intentions help me to stay present. They ease my worries. They give me strength and help me stay positive and put good vibes into the universe. Intentions remind me that I need to live my life purposefully. They maintain my connection to the Light. Right now my intentions are to live my life with grace and to let go of reminders of past hurts. I believe that I may have been doing this for a while; but now-every day-I say it out loud. These intentions have helped me get through some uncomfortable encounters lately and have allowed me to come out of situations feeling like a better person.
I think prayer has allowed for some amazing things to happen in my life. And I thank God for that!
I won’t be made useless
I won’t be idle with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear~Jewel