“My God and my all.”  “Have mercy on us.”  “Jesus, I trust in you.”  Phrases like these, issued in correspondence with the rising and falling of your breath are part of an ancient and natural method of prayer called aspirations.  My dependence on something like this type of prayer began at about age 5, as it probably has for many frightened children…

I wasn’t supposed to be watching.  The movie which took my parent’s attention away from me as I struggled to fall asleep was evidently not good for kids.  As I crept down the stairs for the third time this night in order to softly beckon my mother’s presence, I paused, crouched behind the chair to see what this attention stealer was all about.  A couple was scuba diving in beautifully dark blue water.  Bubbles cascaded from their mouths as they communicated about the lady exploring something in a darker section.  He motioned upwards but she continued.  Suddenly an eel like creature with pale orange skin, flat eyes and needle like fangs sprang from below, pulling the flailing diver into the abyss.  I winced, drawing the attention of my surprised parents.  Sternly sent to bed once more, I was paralyzed with fear lying there alone.  Ball-like and taught, even my toes fiercely dreaded the end of my bed which surly contained the eel, hidden under my covers.  With my parents lost in reprimanding mode, God was my only hope.  I envisioned a light coming straight from heaven, flooding around me, loving and protecting me.  Over and over again, I said the name of Jesus (mentally only, of course because to open my mouth would be to risk too much).  His name, first spoken at lightening fast speed, eventually slowed to a soft rhythm.  God’s presence was with me.  I calmed and slept.  Thus began my life long spiritual practice of aspirations.

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