On the seventh day God rested from all the work that had been done (Genesis 2:2).
I’m considering the word “rest” today from the perspective of the ancient Christian tradition that says to pray is to rest. Yaconelli details rest as requiring a release from our work, plans, worries and activity. He writes “when we rest in prayer, we become open and receptive to God’s presence.”
I recall in my first semester of seminary, we were learning about the discipline of prayer. Our leader told us that prayer is not always about asking for something; “it’s really wasting time with God”. It’s about hanging out with God with no particular goal or agenda, but simply spending time in God’s presence.
A spiritual director once likened prayer time to my desire to just spend time with my kids. We don’t have to be doing anything unique, just being together in the same room is good for me. She said, “don’t you think God would like to hang out in the same room with you?” (Duh-ope!)
Like some of my friends, I haven’t been good at a regular time of prayer but, of all things, my cat has helped me out in this regard.
While on my laptop (furiously writing seminary papers), my cat, Sedona, will often climb up onto my lap and cover my wrists with her ample self. I’ve tried to continue typing, but I can neither see over her girth nor lift her with my wrist to get my fingers on the right keys. So, I’ve taken to asking her “Oh, is it time for prayer?” We sit while I stroke her soft fur, enjoying that pleasure and extending the pleasure to being aware of God’s presence, attained not through thinking but through loving, as Yaconelli says.
Amazing grace opens its arms and lets us fall into its love.
Bidden, yearned for, woo’d and pursued
it beckons us all to come home.