How to Pray

Devotional

Slowing & Centring: How to be Still before God 


Having established the need to "keep it simple, keep it real and keep it up", where do we actually start in prayer? 


Often when we start to pray it takes time to quiet and settle ourselves; to clear our busy minds and refocus on who we are praying to. That’s why it’s so important that we learn to be still. 


This is the first step in a deeper prayer life. Stillness and silence prepare our minds and prime our hearts to pray from a place of greater peace, faith and adoration.


When our sons were quite little I would sometimes walk through the door after several days away, only to be greeted by one of them yelling, "Dad, have you got anything nice for me?" or "Dad, my brother’s not sharing", or even, "Dad, what’s for dinner?"


"Well, I’m so glad you’ve missed me!" I would call upstairs. "Any chance of a hug down here?" I wanted them to acknowledge my presence properly before bombarding me with requests. To look me in the eyes and say very simply, "Welcome home, Daddy!"


In a way, this is what Jesus models in the opening lines of the Lord’s Prayer. Before we launch into a long list of all the stuff we need—daily bread, forgiveness of sins, deliverance from evil—he tells us to pause, to address God affectionately as "Our Father", and respectfully, "hallowed be your name".


Prayer can easily become a frenetic extension of the manic way I live too much of my life. Distracted and driven, I step into the courts of the King without modulation, without introduction, without slowing my pace or lifting my face to meet his gaze. But the sages teach us that true prayer is not so much something we say, nor is it something we do; it is something we become. It is not transactional but relational. And it begins, therefore, with an appropriate awareness of the One to whom we come.


Pete suggests  four simple steps to practice as we learn the process of being still: relax (get comfortable), breathe (calmly and deeply), speak (a prayer word or phrase) and repeat (when distractions come simply return to the beginning).


Why not take some time now to still your mind and quiet your soul before God? 


Let’s pray together, "Our Father in Heaven, help me to be still and know that you are God."