What does it take to breathe? You have to inhale and then exhale. Depending upon what is going on in your life, breathing can be easy. For example, when you have a moment to look out at beautiful scenery, you can breathe easily in that relaxing situation.
It can be hard to breathe when you are experiencing anxiety. In fact, one of the symptoms of General Anxiety Disorder is that you feel as though you cannot breathe. This is a very uncomfortable experience.
No matter what situation you are in, relaxing or distressed, you breathe. The way you breathe is altered, but you still breathe.
Prayer should be just like breathing, as natural as breathing, as reflexive as breathing. Prayer is communication with God. We were made in the garden of Eden, so the story goes, in communication with God. It is when we were not honest in our communication with God that things broke down and we then had to go it on our own.
Prayer should be as honest as breathing. The Lord wants our true emotions, our anger at him, our disappointment at others, our joy with successes, our peace at relaxing moments. We know that this is so because the way we learn to talk with God is found in the Psalms in the Old Testament.
Prayers in desperate times give us peace, see Psalm 91. Prayers in joyful times give us jubilation, see Psalm 100. Prayers during times of mourning make us reflect on how fragile life is and how life itself depends upon the Lord, see Psalm 23. For any time or circumstance, you can find a psalm that reflects how the psalmist went to the Father in Heaven at all times. For this reason, we can learn how to talk with God through reading or praying through the Psalms.
Read them. Learn them. Pray them. Breathe them. The Psalms.
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Mark Kurowski, M.Div.
Spiritual Director, Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Theologian