I remember how strange it seemed. Foreign to me. Familiar to others.
Prostrate prayers before the Lord, face-down on my red quilt, pointed eastward toward Jerusalem. It was her challenge to us following the Raleigh Living Proof Live event I’d attended. It soon became my default.
At first it was awkward, almost ridiculous at times. I felt odd, uncomfortable, and out of place. Was I doing it right? Where should I put my arms? How should I begin the conversation with God? But I kept to it, this horizontal approach to Jesus. Days turned into weeks, and weeks collected as months. With little fanfare, face-down praying slipped into my daily routine as habit.
And I loved my prayer time with Jesus.
But then one September morning in 2010 I stopped. Cancer interrupted my routine, and out of necessity, I traded in my face-down prayers for upright ones. I folded my red quilt, stored it neatly in the blanket basket, and promised God I’d get back to it as soon as I could. As soon as the scars healed. As soon as my knees gave me permission to bend without pain.
It’s been three years now since I’ve hit the floor in reverence. And while my scars have mostly healed and my pain has lessened, the quilt (for the most part) remains folded, used on occasion for warmth by other family members.
And I’ve suffered in my prayer time with Jesus.
What I used to love, I no longer craved. What I used to practice, I no longer pursued. What I used to know, I no longer remembered.
Until last week.
While sitting around the table with new friends discussing Bill Hybel’s book on prayer, I remembered what I used to love, what I used to practice, what I used to know. Last week, I recalled my red quilt, the intimacy of face-down prayers shared with the Father, and, with a contrite heart, I remembered my promise to him … to get back to it as soon as I could.
As soon as I could came and went a couple of years ago. What once felt so impossible—this stretching out of flesh before the Father—was made possible again by his healing hands. Sadly, I let it slip by without notice. A habit not pursued is easily forgotten, replaced by what’s reasonable, what’s comfortable. All too often, what’s reasonable and comfortable is a formula for complacency – a last-luster, dulled approach to connecting with life … to connecting with Jesus.
Not wanting anything dull and lack-luster as it pertains to my life with Jesus, I went in search of the red quilt last week. I found God’s East, and I laid down toward it. Scars to the ground, stretched out and head bowed low before the King. Not ridiculous this time around; instead, more readily embraced. Old habits remembered (especially the ones that are sweet) are ones willingly reinstated.
And, once again, I loved my prayer time with Jesus. This is how I will move forward in my conversations with him. This is where I will meet him in the mornings. Not out of obligation, but rather out of privilege.
I am able, so I will. Scars and all. Stretched out and stretched thin. Face to the floor. Heart to the heavens. This is, indeed, sweetness to my soul.
Peace for the journey,
What about you, friend? Do you love your prayer times with Jesus? What sweet habit of prayer have you learned? I’d love to hear more.