Tuesday, August 1, 2017

First Lines: Swimming
By Griff Martin
August 1, 2017

My favorite form of exercise is swimming. It’s not so much about the fact that swimming is one of the better workouts for your body, and it’s only a little bit about the fact that everyone can swim. And it’s beyond how much I love the fact that I often share a lane with a woman in her mid-sixties who can outswim, outwork and outlast me any day of the week in the pool. No, it’s really about prayer – the rhythm and the movement – because in my life, more than anything else, swimming has taught me how to truly pray.
It’s the moment I dive in to start my laps and the brief moments where I am swimming the right pattern and style; the moments when I am in two worlds. I am in both the world of air and the world of water. It’s two worlds, yet I seem to exist in them both for a brief moment. For me, prayer is learning to exist in two worlds for a brief moment – the spiritual and the earthly, the holy and the human, the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. Because prayer puts you in the proper balance between both worlds. 
We’ve been taught to pray without ceasing or to pray continually, but what does that mean? Can we truly pray all the time, or is that just for those who have given their lives to monastic living? We all have our prayer concerns and our times of intercession – but then life is going on and we all have things to do. So how do we merge these concepts and learn to pray always as Scripture teaches?
Maybe it’s looking at prayer differently – opening our minds to the idea that prayer is both talking and listening to God, with a bold emphasis on the latter. Maybe our prayer times serve just as introductions to our days, or times to put our minds and hearts in both kingdoms…to refocus on that which really matters when we find we have drifted back into the kingdom of man.
Truly attentive prayer takes baby steps. But eventually we can learn to be people living in two worlds. So this week, may you pray – and pray always. May your life be filled with the Kingdom of God so that you can deal with the kingdom of man. And may you focus…and refocus….and refocus....

Amen and Amen.


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