The largest radio receiver on earth is in New Mexico. Airplane pilots call it “the mushroom patch”. It's real name is the Very Large Array. The VLA is a series of huge satellite disks on thirty-eight miles of railways. Together, the dishes mimic a single telescope the size of Washington, DC. Astronomers come from all over the world to analyze optical images of the heavens composed by the VLA from the radio signals it receives from space. Why is such a giant apparatus needed? Because the radio waves, often emitted from sources millions of light years away, are very faint. The total energy of all radio waves ever recorded barely equals the force of a single snowflake hitting the ground.
What great lengths people will go to searching for a faint message from space when God has spoken so clearly through the Son and the bible. Straining through the eyes of telescopes and the electronic ears of the VLA, people search the infinite darkness of the universe for a word from somewhere. The bible tells us that “We have the word of the prophets made more certain, and yo will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” (2 Peter 1: 19)
God not only spoke clearly and powerfully through Christ and the scriptures, God also has a Very Large Ear continuously open to us. And that brings us to our next in the series of spiritual practices we are looking at this summer. Prayer. I don't think I have anything to tell you about prayer that you don't already know or haven't already heard. We don't need to know more about God. Instead we need to know God.
So rather than a long sermon on prayer, I want to show you a video and then we will actually “do” prayer.
Show video The Skinny on Prayer from the Skit Guys.
There are many ways to pray. Today we are going to practice a couple of them. Remember that the purpose of this exercise is to connect ourselves with God. It's not about how we look or what words we use. It's about our concerted effort to share with God and learn to listen to God's response.
We're going to start with what is called a body prayer. This body prayer is based on Psalm 95: 6 which says “Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before God our Maker.”
It requires actual movement as we prayer which reminds us that our whole being can be involved in our communication with God.
First, put your hands together in the prayer pose in front of your heart. Bow. Then say:
I bow in the presence of God. Lift hands up above head, palms open, receiving I receive the love and grace of God. Hands together in front of heart in prayer pose. Bow. I bow in the presence of all those with whom I share my life on earth. Hands outstretched in front of body a gesture of giving I seek to understand the struggles others go through Hands together in front of heart. Bow I bow into my own awakened heart. Hands crossed over heart. Cherishing, loving and caring for myself Hands together in prayer pose in front of heart. Bow.
I bow and give thanks for all those who have prayed today.
Breath prayer is a simple one or two sentence mantra that you can do simply in the intake and exhalation of a breath. Sit quietly and close your eyes. Breathe deeply and slowly all the way to your abdomen, filling your body with breath. When you breathe in say this phrase “The breath of God has made me.” On the exhalation say “The breath of God gives me life.”
Prayer for Life
I am alive.
I am seeing, hearing, breathing, touching, moving, tasting, loving.
I am alive.
I am seeing God, hearing God, breathing God, touching God, moving God, tasting God, loving God, living God.
I am alive.
I know that God is seeing me, hearing me, breathing me, touching me, moving me, loving me.
I am alive.
Every time I seek, I am found; every time I speak, I am heard; every time I breathe, I am breathed; every time I touch, I am touched, I am known; every time I move, I am moved; every time I love, I am loved.