“One of the finest of interior disciplines, practiced by those whom we have most reason to admire, is that of a period of deliberate receptivity at or near the beginning of the conscious day. Some who have gone deeply into the life of the Spirit report that they begin the day by saying “Lord, I am ready to listen. Speak to me now.” Then the individual is quiet, not in the sense of being merely inactive or dull, but in the sense of being vibrantly attentive.” (Elton Trueblood. The New Man for Our Time. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1970, p. 73.)
“A period of deliberate receptivity at…the beginning of the conscious day.” I sometimes wonder if my morning prayer is a place of deliberate receptivity to God, or something I do because I should (and only half-awake).
One practice that has sometimes helped me is called by some “breath prayer.” I remember being taught a version of this as a form of confession in my early Christian life. I was to let my exhale be a moment of releasing my failures, faults and sins, then let my inhale be a receiving the forgiveness and mercy of God. More recently, it has helped me to expand my vision of his little practice.
What I will do is sit comfortably and quiet, paying attention to thoughts and feelings that rise up to be prayed. Sometimes what will come is a gift from God to be received (inhaled). I may then exhale whatever would seem to be the opposite. Or, sometimes what comes is a place of need, of struggle, of failing that I let myself release (exhale), then receiving whatever God’s Spirit helps me see as its opposite. Some examples come to mind:
Inhale / Exhale?
Love / Fear
Peace / Anxiety
Mercy / Guilt
Acceptance / Condemnation
Hope / Despair
Abundant provision / Scarcity of resources
Comfort / Sorrow & Grief
Divine energy / Listlessness
What practices are helping you remember that Christ is really in you, that He is your life, and that He is inviting you today to come to Him and walk with Him today?