If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
–Colossians 3:1-3 ESV
I remember the first conversation I had with my spiritual director. Scott and I had recently begun training to be spiritual directors, really without any knowledge of what one was or what one does. We just knew we were hungry to know God and pursue Him intimately. When this spiritual director asked me, “How is your prayer life?” my first thought was, “What does that have to do with spiritual direction??” My answer consisted of stumbling through what activities I did during prayer rather than who I was in prayer. David Benner says prayer “is not simply what we do. It is a way of being. More specifically, it is resting in the reality of our being-in-God. This is the fundamental identity. It is the hidden but deepest truth of our existence.”
Colossians 3:3 reminds us that our lives are hidden with Christ in God. When I rest in that reality of being-in-God, I can stop fighting to make sure that all my needs are going to get met in the way that I think they should be met. My resting in who I am “in Christ” is an expression of prayer…a silent sitting with Jesus and remembering who I am and who I am not. Like the weaned child sitting on her mom’s lap, I can just sit with Him without kicking and screaming for what I need.
Benner added in his book, Openness to God, “The only thing we should seek in prayer is God. When we focus on how we are doing or what we are getting out of prayer, we have taken our eyes off God and put them back on our self.” Like Peter, who while walking on the water, took his eyes off of Jesus and fell into the waves, our prayer life can easily lose who God is and His desire for us and move to trying to produce results.
What is prayer to you? Is it a list of what you say to God? Is it making requests or sitting with Him? How are you experiencing being hidden with Christ in God? What will it give you rest from?