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Freedom From Your Pain – Echoes of Prayer

Do you want to be free from pain, guilt, shame or self-hatred? What a silly question! Of course you do. Last week in Laying Down Your Burden – Echoes of Rest I described how praying can rewire your brain and change your self-image. 

If you sit silently and still in God’s presence, you’ll notice all sorts of thoughts racing in and out of your mind. The simple act of noticing these thoughts and turning your attention back to God literally changes the prefrontal cortex of your brain. If you practice sitting silently in meditative prayer for five minutes every morning and evening, you’ll find freedom and healing. If you can sit in His presence for 20 minutes twice a day, you’ll experience exponential growth.

And you’ll blossom into who God created you to be. The bad news is it doesn’t happen overnight. The good news is that Jesus isn’t boring! He wants you to live freely and faithfully, out of a playful sense of adventure and curiosity.

Want to try something new?

My newest, most favorite way to pray

I’m learning a new way to pray in my weekly Sounds of Silence group. It’s even easier than sitting in silence (which is actually surprisingly difficult! In 6 Ideas for Women Who Are Tired of Being Alone I mention a research finding that shows most people would rather get electric shocks than be alone with their thoughts. Maybe that’s why we’re constantly scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, podcasts).

Freedom From Your Pain Echoes of Jesus
Freedom From Your Pain – Echoes of Prayer

My newest, most favorite way to pray is to hold a situation or person lightly in my hands. I gently cup it and sit beside Jesus. Shoulder to shoulder. I lean against Him, feeling His solid warmth and powerful presence. I don’t ask for a specific outcome or pray for anything in particular.

Toward the end of our evening in our Sounds of Silence group, each woman briefly shares something that she’s thinking about, struggling with or learning about herself. The facilitator then asks us to silently hold her up in prayer. We don’t pray for healing, resolution, or even for God’s will to be done. We just hold her lightly and gently, allowing the Holy Spirit to speak and lead. After a minute, the facilitator dings her bell. We move on to the next woman.

4 reasons I love this prayer…

I love this prayer because it’s not me leading the prayer. I’m not praying for what I want, or what I think is best, or how life should be. Usually I’m not even praying for healing, peace, justice or restoration. Instead, I’m leaning on Jesus and allowing the Holy Spirit to bring insights, wisdom, and petitions to me. I’m following, not leading.

I love this prayer because it puts God in the driver’s seat and allows me to be a child. I surrender in love, faith, and trust. I’m participating, but not in charge. I’m active, but not telling the Spirit what to do, when to do it, why it should be done, or how to proceed.

I love this prayer because I can do it anytime, anywhere, for anyone. I can hold the mechanic up in prayer while he’s charging me $1,500 for a new clutch on an old truck, or the grocery store clerk when I see her bruised arm and broken finger. I can pray while massaging my little dog’s wrenched hip or when I’m listening to a friend describe a painful situation. I don’t need words.

Finally, I love this prayer because it lets me embrace people like my sad, overwhelmed friend who said, “I don’t even know what to pray for.” Her 45 year old husband is dying, her teenage sons are suffering, she is the family’s breadwinner and caretaker. When I pray for specific outcomes — healing, financial security, a miracle — I take the burden onto my own shoulders. But by lifting her up silently while sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with Jesus and allowing the Holy Spirit to speak, I give her to God.

What do you think?

Maybe you could try this type of prayer. What do you need to release, to be free from? Who do you need to surrender? What do you need to let go of?

Take five minutes to sit quietly in God’s presence. Imagine yourself shoulder-to-shoulder with Jesus. Invite the Holy Spirit to speak truth into your life. Listen.

Remember that deep, heartfelt prayer — the type that rewires your brain and changes your life — isn’t a one-time deal. Rather, prayer that grows you closer to God is like building a muscle, or growing a garden, or nurturing a relationship. You need to keep coming back, paying attention, and nurturing the sprouts and growth you see.

With His love,

Laurie

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