Prayers that don't ask for anything can have surprising power.
A woman in the hospital was experiencing pain when a chaplain arrived. “We're praying for the pain to go away, but it isn't working, " the woman's adult daughter said, clearly distressed.
With encouragement from the chaplain, the mother reported the pain to her nurse.
Then the chaplain said, “Let's try another way of praying. "
The chaplain invited the mother to see herself resting in God's love. Then the chaplain read aloud a beautiful Psalm reflecting on God's unfailing presence.
The anxiety in the room slowly melted away. The mother's face relaxed and her breathing became deeper and slower. By the time new pain medication arrived, the mother was already on her way to experiencing relief.
I like to call the kind of prayer that the chaplain used “bridge-type" prayer.
It doesn't make any requests at all.
Bridge-type prayer simply seeks to bring into our awareness the presence of the sacred, allowing divine love and compassion into our situation.
There's a wide variety within bridge-type prayer, allowing each person to connect with the sacred in their unique way. Your bridges to the sacred might include:
- Prayers or songs of thanksgiving and praise.
- Reading sacred or philosophical texts or inspirational literature.
- Walking, running or dancing.
- Using prayer beads.
- Listening to inspirational material on a tape or CD, or having someone read sacred texts to you.
- Creating art or music.
- Wordlessly relaxing into divine love.
Bridge-type prayer can be a great soother in times of fear or pain. A habit of daily bridge-type prayer provides powerful spiritual nurture, keeping our connection to the sacred strong and vibrant.
Along with “asking" prayer, “bridge- type" prayer can be an important spiritual tool for living with cancer.
TIP: What is your strongest “bridge" to the sacred? Consider making that bridge part of your daily routine.
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