Psalm 1:1–3 ‘but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season’(vv2–3a)
Today we’re fascinated by output. We’ve learnt to measure outcomes, but not to value content and process. Prayer is the process of seeking God with a twofold objective; to deepen our appreciation and understanding of God primarily, and consequently to begin to think and live by God’s desire and not our instinctive preferences. Prayer, whilst generally affirmed by all Christians, often finds little place in our Christian activities. We are better seeing it as a lifestyle than an action we execute. Scripture suggests it forms part of every waking and sleeping hour. We learn to dwell in God’s presence continually, something Paul highlights in his encouragement that we are to ‘pray continually’ (1 Thess. 5:17).
In an age increasingly consumed with ideas of wellbeing, how remarkable that prayer is good for our physical, mental and emotional health.* Centred on God, we can expect to live a virtuous life, and we do not wither when the burdens of life threaten to overwhelm us. So many of the wellbeing techniques promoted for our overall health are themselves the practices that have marked the lives of God’s followers for centuries. I am myself so grateful to the sayings of the Desert Mothers and Fathers, as well as the extensive writings of the Church Fathers. Following the path of a contemplative has both radically reduced my anxiety and also renewed my engagement with life at every level. My one desire, to sink my roots ever deeper into the refreshing resource of God’s love (Jer. 17:7–8).
SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER:Ps. 139:13–18; Prov. 12:15–28; John 15:1–17; Eph. 1:15–23.
AN ACTION TO TAKE: Does prayer feature on your wellbeing schedule? Learning to take time with God and become aware of God’s presence throughout the day is good for us.
A PRAYER TO MAKE: Lord, help me to become aware of Your presence morning, noon and night by God’s grace. Amen.’