Are you familiar with the 2 step? The 3 step? How about the 7 step? The 2 step is a break dance move and for those who prefer something a bit more highbrow the 3 step is the Foxtrot; but what I would like us to focus on is the 7 step.
The 7 step isn’t a dance, though the analogy of dance is very appropriate to describe the theme we’ve been thinking about. The 7 step refers to the immeasurable height, length, depth and breadth of what happens when we pray. The 7 step is not a technique or a method but a dance step that invites us to hold God close, but even more importantly, to know how much closer God holds us.
The 7 step is a way to help us make the most of those three minutes I was speaking about last week. The 7 step describes the 7 dimensions of God in prayer. It speaks of the God who is above us; the God who is below us, the God who is beside us; the God who is before us; the God who is behind us and the God who is within us.
The 7 step is dependent on one thing, which may be good or bad news for you, and that is your memory. In quiet prayer, as I said last week, breathing is only the first step. The next step is not to empty your mind but to discipline it. Part of the way we discipline our minds is to use our memory. When we use our memory we think of what we already know but the art of quiet prayer is to use this memory in a different way.
When we use our memory in quiet prayer we are not merely remembering something, we are instead encouraging it to grow and to develop. We are not giving this thought a free rein instead we are giving it the freedom to morph and to evolve around and because of a particular idea. In quiet prayer this idea acts as an anchor to tether our prayers but at the same time to act as a guide to direct it into a other paths.
For example, next week I will be writing about the idea of God being over us. One way of thinking about this is to remember how the Bible speaks of God as a refuge or a shelter. In quiet prayer you take that idea and then allow it to morph, to evolve, to grow within your heart and soul wherever the Spirit takes you, such as imagining sheltering from a storm or enjoying some shade on a sunny day.
The heart of quiet prayer is to allow this thought to help you hold God close, but even more importantly, to help you know just how much closer God holds you.