Stress: A Pathway to Prayer? Part 2

Restored Perspective

During our “time apart” we remember we’re not alone in the current dilemma. Nor have we been apart from God in any other crisis. We invoke God’s enormous power and creativity to help us squeak through another tight spot, as God has done before.

Just as the tabernacle lamp draws attention to God’s presence, so prayer is our response: we stand before God in need—again.

We’ve all muttered tensely through gritted teeth, “if you want me to do this ___ (fill in the blank), God, I’ll need your help!” Indeed, I once survived seven flight cancellations, to give talks in Manhattan NY and Manhattan KS during the same blizzardy weekend, all fueled by prayer. As I sprinted through airports, I sang silently Amy Grant’s song, “Breath of heaven, hold me together…Pour over me your holiness, for you are holy.”

One benefit of prayerful journaling is the ability to read back over tense times in our past. We can see not only what troubled us, but how remote it seems now. Not to discount issues that were once important, but most of us can’t even remember the problems we lost sleep over three years ago. In God’s grand, cosmic design, our little snits and tensions seem like small potatoes indeed.

When we don’t have the perspective of time, prayer gives us a similar distance. In even a few moments, we can slow down, breathe deeply, and remember it’s all in God’s hands—whatever trouble “it” is now.

During a crisis that makes us want to scream with frustration, the deep breath of prayer can remind us that this one will pass as others have. Some wonderful surprise could also emerge. As playwright James Goldman wrote in “The Lion in Winter,” “in a world where carpenters get resurrected, anything is possible.”

To be continued… 

Originally published in EVERYDAY CATHOLIC, St. Anthony Messenger Press

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