This is part of an ongoing series during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. To engage further in the #QuarantineSoulCare series, click here.
Our English word prayer derives from the Latin precarious. We pray because life is precarious. We pray because life is marvelous. We pray because we find ourselves at a loss for many things, but not for the simplest words like “please,” “thank you,” “wow,” and “help.” I prayed when I held our babies for the first time. I prayed when work overwhelmed me, and I knew I couldn’t cope. I prayed when my wife was wheeled away down the hospital corridor unconscious. I prayed the night I saw the northern lights.
Canadian psychologist David G. Benner describes prayer as “the soul’s native language,” observing that “our natural posture is attentive openness to the divine.” We see this posture in many great men and women not necessarily known for religious devotion. … From American presidents to Irish poets, from rock stars in London to single mothers in Wichita, prayer has been the argument “that cannot be proven,” the “gaping need” of every human soul since the very dawn of time. …
From primitive cave paintings to the whitewashed walls of the Royal Academy, the universal impulse to pray permeates and pulsates through human anthropology and archaeology, sociology and psychology. It is no exaggeration to say that to be human is to pray. …
Even when you don’t really want to pray, a place of prayer can often make it easier. Merely by showing up, you make a declaration of intent. You say, in effect, “Lord, I don’t want to be here, but I’m here!” … After decades of night-and-day prayer, I have come to believe that 99 percent of it is just showing up: making the effort to become consciously present to the God who is constantly present to us.
Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
–Matthew 6:6, The Message