My husband and I were talking about a couple of heavy things. He stopped in the middle of the discussion and said, as is his habit, “Let’s pray about it.”
I have several responses to this behavior from him. Some are more gracious than others. But this time, something new slipped out from my subconscious mind and it surprised me. “I already have,” I said before thinking about it. “Honey, I pray with every breath.”
Both statements startled me. I might have thought them trite upon hearing them from someone else. Yet coming out of my mouth so unexpectedly, they seemed “truer than true” to me.
I went on to add from my critical thinking mind, “But we can pray,” because I didn’t want to give the impression that my statement invalidated the traditional experience of spoken prayer for me. Spoken prayer is very important to him. I respect that. I know spoken prayer is a valuable tool for communication between mortal beings.
Is it necessary between eternal beings, however? That’s something to ponder.
It’s been a long time since I have felt the need to pray in words when I’m by myself or when I’m with someone as close to me as my husband. When I try, I have to push myself beyond the “Om” stage and often it feels a bit jarring. Which is okay. I’m willing to do that if together we need to hear words.
I’m not good at asking for things, though, because I believe so deeply that everything we need already has been provided. This can leave me a less than satisfying prayer partner. But the words “I already have” and “I pray with every breath” were just so lovely to me.
I didn’t question that they were true. And yet how could they be? I had not been conscious of prayer at all. My heart had not moved from where it always is. And my thoughts had been what they always are. Sometimes focused. Sometimes random. Nothing that reliable. Just thoughts.
When I said, “I already have,” I just heard myself saying it. But when I said, “Honey, I pray with every breath,” I thought, Well, how cheeky of you, Laurie! And yet I knew that it wasn’t. I heard the tenderness in my voice, the sincerity of my soul, and the truth of my spirit. My next thought was, How wonderful! How wonderful that this is the way it can be!
I knew it was true. It was truer than true. And I began to wonder. Is this what prayer is for all of us as human beings and yet we tend not to know it? Is there a literal sense in which every breath we take is communication with God? Certainly our human connection with life is in our breath. When we no longer breathe, we become pure spirit. But is every breath we take while we are embodied actually prayer?
Something to ponder.
Laurie Berry Clifford (Copyright 2017)