inner calm

it may be a prompting to grow in your prayer life

God of peace, let us your people know that at the heart of turbulence there is an inner calm that comes from faith in you. Keep us from being content with things as they are, that from this central peace there may come a creative compassion, a thirst for justice, and a willingness to give of ourselves in the spirit of Christ.

I love this prayer for the way it acknowledges the reality of turbulence—the busyness, flurry and sometimes chaotic nature of our lives today. At the same time it names the essential truth that is always present to us but which we often miss completely: the inner calm that comes from our faith. Sometimes that inner calm is tangible while other times it can seem elusive or even illusory. Sometimes, in the busyness of living, I can forget this deeper reality, the stream of life available to me always. Sometimes I wonder if we want the inner calm, but aren’t sure how to find it.

Jesus, who surely had endless demands on his time and energy, love and presence, made time by himself to pray. He clearly understood the importance of nurturing this calm out of which flowed the fullness of his life through silence and prayer. I don’t know about you, but I find most of us are as awkward and uncomfortable talking about our prayer life as we are about sex or politics—both of which can be overly talked about! While some people have a rich and fulfilling prayer life, others do not. Some feel they should pray more, but they don’t really want to and secretly don’t see the value. They ‘check the box’ but don’t experience what they would call deep peace. For others, prayer never even enters their consciousness, until they need that parking place or healing from illness. Some feel they should already know how to pray, even if they don’t really ‘get it,’ secretly embarrassed that they don’t know how to ‘do it’.

By contrast, think of the hours we spend learning and developing skill in the areas of academics, sports and the arts. We secure coaches, tutors, teachers and others who are wise and skilled in the areas where we wish to grow, and we spend hours upon hours committing ourselves in the gym, studying books, doing math problems, mixing color, practicing a difficult fingering of notes. In the beginning, everything about it feels awkward and uncomfortable, and you wonder why you even bother. And yet, as we move through that beginner phase, we discover that the more we invest in something the more we learn we don’t know and at the same time the more it enriches our lives.

What is your prayer life like? What does it mean to you? How did you learn to pray? Do you find prayer to be richly fulfilling, transforming even, becoming a wellspring of peace, joy, love and energy out of which the rest of your life flows? Have you thought about what can be gained in developing your prayer life, in exercising the muscle of prayer through practice?

If you yearn for the “inner calm” in the heart of the turbulence of your life, it may be a prompting to grow in your prayer life. I invite you to own that desire and take the risk to ask someone you trust how to go about developing that muscle. We all start in different places, and it helps to have support along the way. If you have the desire and the intention, the resources will unfold.

Hope to see you Sunday!

Elizabeth Jameson