I struggled with stress this week. On Monday I felt overwhelmed, and everything seemed harder than it needed to be. Those are the days when my faith feels weaker, and God seems far away. Over the years I have learned to turn to God in those times. I rarely do it as quickly as I should, but at some point, I remember that I am not doing life alone and God is there to help carry the burden. I like Matthew 11:28 which reminds us of God’s help, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
As a younger person, come to me meant me asking God for help. Through the years it has shifted to mean, spending time in prayer. Not on my knees kind of prayer, but simply breathing God prayers. If you do yoga, meditate, or need to lower your stress, the key is often in slowing your breathing. As we become aware of our breath, we see that our breathing can support our practice of stretching or focus our energy. The same is true with our prayers. Our breathing can also support our practice of prayer.
To do this I sit comfortably and close my eyes. I remind myself that God loves me, and I am in his presence regardless of where I sit. I imagine God asking me what I need. I call him by whatever name feels most comfortable for me. Usually, it is Father. I then articulate my prayer. Father I need your peace. I do that with my breath, on the inhale I say Father, and the exhale, I need your peace. I sit in silence and allow my breath to guide my prayer until I feel the tension leave my shoulders. I don’t think there is a right way or better way to reach out to God when we feel weary and burdened. I simply think we need to shift our hearts toward Him, knowing He is there waiting to bring us rest.