Part of the Series The Twelve Days of Christmas as Twelve Ways to Deepen Your Connection with God.

You who walk this way toward Christ---long and fearsome as it may be---who persevere in this difficult inner journey of prayer will come face to face with what you're looking for.  Take care though, the life of prayer is not magic---speak the right words, do the right things, and presto, enlightenment.  No, you'll never conjure up a mystical experience; the mystical is never magical.

Instead, you'll be led into the fullness of God (Ephesians 3.19).  This fullness is the end of the journey, the goal of all life, the fruit of your spiritual practice.  But the moment we say "goal," we're tiptoeing close to danger.  The ego loves goals, and talking about the goal of prayer arouses your ego and launches you into the kind of grasping, reaching, and achieving that's the antithesis of true prayer.  Do this and you'll get all knotted up pursuing the goal and miss the Goal itself.

The eleventh way is the way of utter relinquishment.  There is no further you can travel.  You've come as near to the Light as you can get on your own.  You must now stop and sit still before Christ.  Ask nothing.  Demand nothing.  Accept whatever comes.  This is pure prayer.  Now, open the treasure chest of your heart and keep it open by breathing gently, letting your breath fall into a natural, uncontrolled rhythm.  Sit.  Wait.  Then when it seems right, offer up the three gifts that have carried you here: gold of faith, frankincense of hope, myrrh of love.  They're all you have now.  And these too you must surrender to Christ.  Empty and naked you wait, ready to receive what nothing can earn, own, or comprehend.

The divine Fire, the Light you've sought from the beginning, will come suddenly and unexpectedly---an exquisite, unexplainable joy.  It will come when you no longer care when and how the Fire comes, or what it's like when it does. 

Today, I will practice becoming still before God.  The ancient Christians called this hescyhia in the Greek speaking churches and quies among the Latin.  This is contemplation, the prayer of the heart, the simple resting of myself in God.  I will take 5 to 15 minutes to sit still before Christ, relinquishing all, yet receiving All.

AuthorChris Neufeld-Erdman
CategoriesBE, DO, PRAY