Unhurry your body and soul: play the Resting in God Game (Luminous Friday)

[For my Friday posts, May is “body month.” It’s about how we relate to our bodies as spiritual people. This is in keeping with chapter four of Luminous, Being Present with Our Bodies…]

The other morning I got out of bed, made my usual cup of tea, and settled into my special spend-time-with-God chair. I must have slept funny, because my lower back felt tight and hurt a little. As I sat down, I remembered that at Sanctuary as part of our move to become unhurried Jesus-followers, we are playing the Resting in God Game. It means taking a set amount of time and doing nothing other than just that – resting in God. The Resting in God Game sounded like the perfect way to start the day. So I sat down, leaned all the way forward to stretch out my back, and just stayed there for… I don’t know, maybe 3-4 minutes. Now that’s the way to start a day!

In fact, most of this week I have been starting the day with the Resting in God Game. The one day I didn’t, I was in a bad mood all day. Coincidence?

The Resting in God Game can put you into a contented frame of mind. I have found myself drifting in God’s presence, guided by the thought, “Whatever you give, that’s enough.” Whatever health; whatever money; whatever encouragement; whatever clarity; whatever love; whatever feelings of his presence; whatever anything – it’s enough.

On Sunday when I introduced the Resting in God Game at Sanctuary, I coached the congregation that resting-in-God prayer is a way to enact Psalm 131…

Lord, my heart is not proud;
  my eyes are not haughty.

I don’t concern myself with matters too great
  or too awesome for me to grasp.
Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself,
  like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk.
  Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, put your hope in the Lord—
  now and always.

To rest in God is to be content in him, to let him be enough. It’s the opposite of our usual tendency to demand more and more from God without appreciating what he has already given us. (Asking God for help is necessary too, but not during these resting-in-God times.)

There are many ways to pray, and all of them involve your body. Resting in God is best done when being physically peaceful. It is restful for your body as much as for your soul. Thus it seemed natural the other morning to stretch while praying in this way. My body was saying, “Ah, this is good.” And so was my soul.

If you want to play the Resting in God Game with us at Sanctuary, here are some pointers:
  • Choose the 2-Minute Plan, the 5-Minute Plan, or the 10-Minute Plan (some people use a 20-Minute Plan) – whatever fits for you at that time. Set a timer and start resting.
  • Picture Psalm 131 if it helps. Be like a child spending time with your loving parent.
  • Be fully grateful. Don’t ask for things. Just appreciate him, what he already has given you, and what he will give you today.
  • Make a treat of it. Have a cup of coffee or tea afterward. Or nibble on a piece of chocolate. Light a scented candle. Or something else you enjoy.
  • If possible, let this resting-in-God time lead you into your daily devotions.
  • When distracting thoughts intrude, let them drift by like objects on a river. Return to appreciating God.
  • Don’t try to feel something or make something happen. Let God be enough, whether he overwhelms you with his presence or remains quiet. 

Note: the Resting in God Game is a companion to the Slowing Game, explained more here.

I am convinced that Jesus regularly rested in his Father. He let his Father be enough. He became simple and content as in Psalm 131, and he encouraged others to be childlike also. Resting in God is one way we can move closer to praying like Jesus.

Note: Throughout 2014, my Friday posts will be excerpts and thoughts from Luminous: Living the Presence and Power of Jesus (IVP, 2013). My hope is that these posts launch you into the weekend in a Jesus-centered way.


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