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Living on a Prayer

This is part of my on-going series on Practicing Pauses - finding the little moments of rest that are scattered throughout our busy days, and making the most of them. Last week I wrote about tools that help me (at least) to get the most good possible out of even the smallest moment - this week, I'd like to spend a little time more deeply examining one of those tools.

I mentioned prayers of gratitude last week, counting blessings instead of accumulating worries. I also like praying Scripture (Don Whitney has some good info on that), because that's a good way to go deeper into a short passage, like a Psalm, and alleviates the guilt I feel over only having time to read 5 verses.

It also covers another struggle - not having the words to pray. Because sometimes I am so exhausted, so distracted, so hopeless, so something that I can't think of anything to say that doesn't seem sacrilegious. A few months ago, Emily mentioned "breath prayers" in a Hope*ologie post, and it came up again in Breathing Room (which I got on my bookstore outing a few weeks ago). I kind of skimmed over the idea of a short, centering phrase, repeated over an inhale and an exhale, until I was listening to a Tenth Avenue North album and realized that I was already doing that, except that it didn't fit my mental definition of prayer so I didn't recognize it.

Empty my hands, fill up my heart,
capture my mind with You.

This is where
the healing begins.

On and on we go
come, love, take my hand.

Could the Maker of the stars
hear the sound of my breaking heart?

You gave us truth
the Truth is who You are.

We are free to struggle
we're not struggling to be free.

I need You, I love You, I want You,
no one else can make me new.

I know that You can give me rest
so I cry out with all that I have left.

Grace tonight
will hold us through.

Let me see Redemption wins
let me know the struggle ends.

(Ahem. Not my favorite band or anything. For more awesome examples, see all of their albums.)

Another thing Leeana mentions is "borrowing" prayers - Scripture, songs, prayers written by other people - because sometimes someone else already said what you want to say (again, Tenth Avenue North). It made me question my definition of prayer. I had my definition of worship widened last year, so I don't know why I didn't apply the same mentality to praying - to realize that in order to "pray without ceasing," it has to be more than the typified image of a person kneeling in solitude, hands folded, head bowed, eyes closed. Just as giving Brooklyn her dinner, picking up our apartment, and getting up in the night with Tobin can be a form of worship when done with the right attitude, so they can also be a form of prayer.

Inhale grace, exhale rest - how could redefining prayer help you to find more time for it?
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31 Days of Unraveling Designs

It's that time of year again... the 31 Days writing challenge starts today! Bloggers from all over will be writing every day of the month of October on the topic of their choosing. This will be my fourth year participating - the first year I did 7 for 31, and spent a month going through Jen Hatmaker's book 7. The second year I did 31 Days of Sustainable Dwelling, and wrote about local and fair trade living. Last year I was busy but still wanted to participate, so I went the easy route with 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful.

This year I'm diving into my greatest passion: knitting! I'll spend this month looking at past designs and talking about the inspiration behind them, so there will be plenty of regular life mixed in with the stitching - and there may be discount codes for the patterns that I write about. You'll just have to read and see!

Pattern index:

Pageturner Mitts
Hogwarts House Tie
Urban Artemis
Graffiti for Humanity
Love Out Loud
Strange Jacket


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A few years ago, I was introduced to the concept of replacing the traditional list of resolutions with a single word. It appealed to me - I am not a big list person, but I love language and words and meanings and etymology and metaphor and... ahem. Ennyhoo. I liked the idea.
I've never chosen the word. It's always presented itself to me - and last year was no different. Pacific was very insistent, even though I tried to argue with it. Pacific? What does that even mean? What am I supposed to do with that?
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So I'm bidding pacific a very fond farewell, and welcoming spark and whatever lessons it would like to bring. I invited it in with a copper wire punctuated with tiny lights and wrapped around my mood board, and I've got an empt…