Yoga and Prayers

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I’ve got 99 problems, but yoga aint’ one.

And still…

When I find myself doing yoga (and by yoga I mean my 17:01 minute video which leads me through a series of digestive stretches) I find myself literally praying this prayer:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains- 

Where does my help come from? 

My help comes from the LORD, 

The Maker of heaven and earth. 

Actually, I say it more like a chant over and over in my head.

It’s kind of ridiculous because yoga is literally the least hard thing I do all day. Mostly, I lie on my back, spend some time alone, and focus on relaxing and breathing. Yet, every night my yoga time somehow brings out this prayer from somewhere deep in my soul. At first, it came to me because, literally, I can’t do yoga, and somehow this holy and sacred prayer got me through 20 seconds of “hard” exercise.

But then, as I began to reflect on it, I became convinced that this prayer was coming from a much deeper place in my soul. You see, I’m a professional do-er. I’m really good at doing all the things, and I often have a lot of things to do. I mom, I wife, I pastor, I friend and those are just my title roles. I have a million little things in between and sometimes life just feels insane.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains- 

Where does my help come from? 

My help comes from the LORD, 

The Maker of heaven and earth. 

I imagine as I look up to the ceiling, with my hand stretched above me, that I’m looking to God and, all of a sudden, it’s not about yoga any more. It’s not about the stupid stretch that leaves my arms wobbly and uncomfortable. It’s about my heart. It’s about the things throughout the day that I no longer feel like I can carry, the things I’ve tried carrying but are too much. It’s about the times of the day when I have failed at all my title roles. It is about the times in the day when I have experienced sadness and disappointment. It is about the times in the day when I wonder, “Who am I, and how did I even get here?”

I lift up my eyes to the mountains- 

Where does my help come from? 

My help comes from the LORD, 

The Maker of heaven and earth. 

It’s my sacred prayer, my prayer that reminds me that, despite all my doing-ness, I need help. It’s a prayer that reminds me where the help I so desperately desire comes from. It’s a prayer that reminds me that even the Maker of heaven and earth is somebody who I am allowed to look at and say, “Here am I, remember me?!?”

Now, lest you think I am a master poet, I must confess that I stole this prayer straight from God’s good Bible. If you are looking for it, you can find it in (the book) Psalms (chapter) 121. Scholars believe that this prayer was actually once a song that was sung as people headed up to Jerusalem for festivals. I like this because it means people didn’t just keep these words for themselves. They sang them out loud to each other.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains- 

Where does my help come from? 

My help comes from the LORD, 

The Maker of heaven and earth. 

Essentially, they were saying, what’s true for me is true for you. This is what I know about God. This is what you can know about God, too.

So today, I offer you my sacred prayer. Are you in need of help? Are you in need of rest? Are you in need of knowing that the creator of all things sees you?  May this song become your song: 

I lift up my eyes to the mountains- 

Where does my help come from? 

My help comes form the LORD, 

The Maker of heaven and earth. 

He will not let your foot slip- 

He who watches over you will not slumber; 

Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 

The LORD watches over you- 

The LORD is your shade at your right hand; 

The sun will not harm you by day, 

Nor the moon by night. 

The LORD will keep you from all harm- 

He will watch over your life; 

The LORD will watch over your coming and going

Both now and forever more. 

– Psalm 121

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