When you're swimming in a sea of stress, it's hard to pray. Take a deep breath...
Stress flowed through my body like 15 gallons of coffee, electrifying every frayed nerve I had left. Somewhere in the midst of the mob of worries clamoring in my head a tiny voice squeaked, "Pray!"
Hah! As if I had the bandwidth to do that in any substantive way! I sent up a rather pathetic cry for help, expecting little. I got nothing.
A while later, still in the midst of a swirl of stress the voice squeaked again, "Pray!" Irritated, I barked back at it, "Do you really think I could hear God through all this?!"
Startled at my own words, I paused. And then I remembered to breathe.
I took a very slow breath to the count of six. Then I let it out to the count of six. I did it again, feeling the air going deep into my lungs, bringing fresh life into my body.
The third time I used words to pace my inhalation: "Holy Spirit, bring me peace." On the exhale I prayed, "Jesus, I love you." Another five sets of breaths and the phrases entered my being. I was calmer. I was connected. I was less stressed. And I knew that if God wanted to tell me something, I could hear it.