Do you ever have moments throughout the day where you feel like you’re waking up, like you’re seeing more clearly, colors are more vivid, emotions more rich? You’re acutely aware that everything matters. The line between the ordinary and extraordinary, heaven and earth, is harder to recognize.
You want to bottle up the experience, but so often the awareness fades as distraction takes over, obligations and schedules regain their control, and we refocus on the task at hand, our never ending to-do list, the monotony of our productivity.
We go through spells where we feel far from God. That divine hum we once felt doesn’t vibrate in our hearts like it did before. We know intellectually how we think about God, but experientially we wonder if someone broke the antenna off our spiritual receiver.
And then it happens again...
In a sunrise. In a song. In a moment of quiet peace. In the face of someone we love. In the way someone encourages us. In a story, scripture, testimony. In the arms of our lover. In a moment of forgiveness. In an act of service. In a sacrifice for another.
The hum turns back on. The scales fall off our eyes. The heart warms. Our senses are enlivened. Our soul is refreshed again.
There is a necessary posture for this experience. It’s not something easily itemized and measured, like an effective workout and diet to yield certain physical gains. It’s a matter of the soul, a rendering of the heart, a vigilance that allows us to recognize what’s happening around us.
Simply put, it’s prayer.
“Pray without ceasing,” Paul wrote to the Thessalonians. When most people think of prayer they imagine a bowed head, closed eyes, and clear dialogue. I don’t think that’s what Paul meant practically.
Instead, I think he’s talking about a continuous posture of the heart. It’s an enduring willingness. It’s an acceptance of what is. It’s being present, grateful, open. It’s acknowledging the momentary affliction but holding on to hope. It’s seeing all people and circumstances through a lens of grace. It’s second-by-second surrender.
It’s been referred to as the contemplative mind in some traditions, and I believe it’s a necessary component of a life lived richly in the Spirit. Without it, the wandering periods and the dry spells will continue to drain the spiritual vitality from our souls.
And we will miss what’s always happening, the spiritual flow that undergirds our reality. It’s all around us, flowing through us, beckoning us out of darkness, inviting us to truly live, showing us the way—and I don’t want to miss it.