Tidbits on praying as a whole human being
One of the main things to consider when entering a set apart time of prayer is that we are a whole human being with a body, a mind and a spirit. God welcomes and invites our whole selves into relationship with him, not just our minds. (Dueteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37)
1. Our Bodies
We are embodied souls and therefore we can bring our body into how we relate to God. This doesn’t have to be weird. It can simply mean that we try to find a comfortable posture or sitting position when we pray. This is so that bodily pains or discomforts present less of a distraction for our attention. Another aspect of bringing your body into your prayer is finding that different postures connect to our various situations and prayers. Praying while kneeling evokes in us a different posture of heart than standing or sitting or lying down. There isn’t a “right way” to posture your body, but it is good to be aware of this element and to feel free to let our bodies pray alongside our hearts and minds.
2. Our Minds
Our minds are also part of us and there are some helpful habits that bring our minds into prayer. Oftentimes if we tune into our minds we find an unceasing flow of thoughts. Our minds jump from one thing to another quite quickly. This can be perceived as a negative thing and we can feel guilty for being easily distracted as we enter a time of prayer. There are ways in which we can learn to still and silence our loud thoughts that demand our attention, but we are also able to simply accept the reality of our active mind. The advice is to allow our unceasing thoughts to become unceasing conversation with God. Rather than thinking of our thoughts as something which is driving us away from prayer and connecting with God, we can bring them into that space with God, almost like thinking your thoughts out loud with God.
3. Our Spirits
Our spirits and emotions are a major part of us as well. Sometimes God chooses to give us a real sense of his presence that we can feel. What a gift! Other times prayer seems not to evoke any sort of noticeable change in our emotions. Or perhaps we even sense a negative feeling of dryness in our spirit. This is okay. Throughout our times of prayer we are reminded that prayer is a response to God. We are not able to create any sort of experience, but we only receive what God has for us. We must resist the inclination to judge or evaluate our times spent with God. Consider this quote: “We ought not take a utilitarian view of prayer, reducing it to questions of results and profits; that would distort it completely. We don’t have to justify to anyone else the time we spend on prayer. God invites us, so to speak, to ‘waste time’ on him, and that is enough.” – Thirsting for Prayer, by Jacques Philippe
May these few tidbits bless you with the knowledge that your heavenly Father loves ALL of you and wants you to bring your whole self into your relationship with him.