06 February 2013

Learning to breathe

This week we're looking at the chapter titled Our Father.  Brennan writes about praying with a nun who was living with profound shame issues:
In the next few minutes, I prayed with her for healing. Then I asked her if she would find a quiet place every morning for the next thirty days, sit down in a chair, close her eyes, upturn her palms, and pray this one phrase over and over: 
It’s a prayer of exactly seven syllables, the number that corresponds perfectly to the rhythm of our breathing. As you inhale—Abba. As you exhale—I belong to You. 
Through her tears she agreed: “Yes, Brennan, I will.” 
One of the most moving and poetic follow-up letters I’ve ever received came from this sister. In it she described the inner healing of her heart, a complete forgiveness of her father, and an inner peace she’d never known in her seventy-eight years. She concluded her letter with these words: A year ago, I would’ve signed this letter with my real name in religious life—Sister Mary Genevieve. But from now on, I’m Daddy’s little girl. 
Be aware, this is not sloppy sentimentality or indulgent wishful thinking. But rather a woman who dared to pray in the childlike trust and deep reverence that Jesus said would mark a disciple, and in doing so discovered the furious love of her Abba. 
At the end of the chapter, Manning issues the following challenge:
Prayerfully consider taking a few moments every day for the next month, closing your eyes, upturning your palms, and praying, “Abba, I belong to You.” Don’t make it anything more than that; trust me, it’s enough
The world roars, demanding its full share of attention
and here am I bending beneath the weight of it
sifting and sorting, till exhausted I shrug shoulders, 
lift hands, drop it all
the noise too loud, 
black and white shifting in shades of grey
and He smiles, for with great patience 
He has been waiting for this release
bringing me again and again to this point of surrender
face to face with my need for Him

Inhale, slow
taking in more of Him than I can hope to hold
Exhale, slower
declaring the only truth I know
I belong to Him

Joining the discussion at Sarah's



Dusty Rayburn said...

Echoing the prayer, "Father, I belong to you".

I really enjoyed your verse. May we surrender all to Him as we faithfully with full acceptance abide and trust in Him.

Anonymous said...

"trust me, it's enough." I wonder how many times we get mired in our complicated prayers. Instead of being "well rounded" that can lead to distractions, what if we came with a simple and undivided heart, a prayer so simple that infiltrates the deepest core of our being... What a revelation--"Abba, I belong to you."

Sarah Carletti said...

Love it.

Anonymous said...

We, in our often busy lives, need to slow down long enough to know this truth and to surrender bits of ourselves for Him.

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