The second thing about breathing that stood out to me was how we must breathe in before we can breathe out.
I realized that so much of my praying before was breathing out. I did 99% of the talking, easily. I used to think that God didn’t say much, but now I realize that I rarely gave Him the opportunity.
Now, there is much more breathing in. Coming to Him most often begins with simply listening. Receiving. There are regular times in my conversations with Jesus where I am silent (just like I am when I converse with another human) and waiting for His response. Sometimes, it is simply just sitting with Him in silence, enjoying His presence.
When someone asks for prayer, or there is something personal I need to pray for, I first spend time “breathing in”. I sit with the Lord waiting for Him to reveal His desire in the situation. I sit with the Lord waiting for Him to give me His words over the situation. Then, because I have inhaled, I can exhale. I pray His desires back to Him. I speak His words over the situation or person. Sometimes I don’t know what He wants right away, so I wait. If the situation is time sensitive, and I don’t feel like the Lord is giving me anything, then I do one of two things: I either don’t pray about the situation, I know – *GASP*, or I pray for what I think is best, always asking that the Lord’s will be done no matter what. I have found that my experience of answered prayer has increased significantly since learning to “breathe in”. But truly, why wouldn’t it since He tells us that whatever we ask for in His name He will do?
I also find that I ask for much less. My prayers used to be mostly asking for things. Good things, sure, but still mostly just asking for things.
Has prayer really deteriorated into sitting on Santa’s lap asking for things? “Bless our food, keep us safe, heal this sick person.” Seriously, the next time you are praying with a group of Saints pay attention to how much of the prayer is asking. That is what religion has turned prayer into. I mean, we go around the room speaking our “prayer requests” and then we “request” of God, and that’s the “prayer time” of the gathering.
Unfortunately, because prayer was a religious duty, not a relationship, I used to fear that if we didn’t pray before a road trip that something bad would happen. I know people that think that if they don’t pray before a meal they will get sick. Is this the God we know? A god who says, “Well, you didn’t ask me to keep you safe so I’m not gonna.” or “Well, you didn’t ask me to bless this food, so now I’m gonna let you get sick.” Would you ever consider treating your own children this way? Saints, this is not our Lord! And the fact that we think this is prayer shows how little we know Him.
Now, I find myself regularly, throughout the day, turning my attention to the Lord. Just beholding Him, enjoying His closeness, letting Him have room to share His heart with me, sharing my thoughts, asking questions, listening to His answers, enjoying a joke, seeing the world through His eyes.
Breathing in AND breathing out.
Has sitting quietly with Lord and listening become part of your time with Him? What changes have you experienced since learning to listen?
p.s. There’s some more good stuff in the comments on pt. 1.