Framed and hung on my office wall is a calligraphy print (by Greta Schrumm) done in many different fonts, colors and letter sizes. It says:
To pray is to
Laugh Whistle Dance on happy feet
Sing! SHOUT and jump! Higher than ever before.
But it is also to
whisper wonder stumble in dark places
Cry SCREAM or just hold a tired head in tired hands and wait …
PRAYER is our tired reaching out to the ONE
who holds us closer & loves us more than we would ever dare imagine.
What a wonderful reminder that prayer is not a drudging, legalistic activity. In the words of Jennifer Kennedy Dean, “Prayer is not an activity, but a relationship. It’s not something you do, but something you live.” Prayer is a dynamic interactive life with the Holy Spirit. It is breath for believers oxygenating the muscles of our faith. We inhale the Holy Spirit and exhale our joys and sorrows; breathe in the Holy Spirit and breathe out our triumphs and failures.
The calligraphy hung on my wall is also a reminder that I don’t need to know the right words or rituals for God to hear me. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” The most important thing any one of us has to do is show up.
God has equipped us with everything we need: His word to inspire us in knowing His will; the Holy Spirit to help us when we do not know how to pray; one another to increase our effectiveness and to share the load. Our job is to plug in and open up. As we do we become freed from the drudgery of having (or guilt of not having) a “prayer life” and we begin to live a “praying life”. Oswald Chambers calls it a life of “strong calm sanity”. Now that’s something to celebrate!