Skip to main content

what do I say when I pray?

I pray. I have a short list of people that I pray for every day, for them to encounter God and know his goodness and be the people they are meant to be. What I pray for them changes every day, but it is always pretty much toward those goals. I often ask God what he is doing in situations and request his direction in decisions. I ask him to show me the truth about certain things. I pray for people as I encounter needy situations during my day. Sometimes I am just grateful for something and tell God how cool I think it is. Often, these days, I remind my soul and again reaffirm my trust in God regarding timing and major changes and events that are upcoming.

Some days I listen to the words that come out of my mouth, or the thoughts that whirl around in my head when I am talking to God and I realise it is all sounding very imperative. God, MAKE me a better leader. God, HEAL that person. God, BRING the right people across my path. God, COME and CHANGE us. God, GIVE us our daily needs. God, HELP me love in a better way. God, MAKE me whole. Now I realise there is nothing wrong with asking God for stuff, in fact Jesus modeled that very thing in parts of his teaching on prayer, also known as the Lord's prayer. But some days I think that someone who was listening in might think I am talking to am employee, handing out assignments. God does not work for me. I would say that I spend my days trying to fit myself into His grand masterpiece, but is it reflective in my language?

Some of my most profound moments of communion with the Creator and Lover of life have been times when words failed me: a silence of rest and comfort, a groaning of agony for some one's pain, a fistful of tears when I am overwhelmed, an awakening of my senses to the vibrancy of supernatural energy at work in and around me. It is not always necessary for words. I know I pray too much with words, thinking that the utterance in and of itself carries some mystical power to bend God's will to my pleas. He is already bending low to me, delighting to hear and see and taste and smell and feel the humanity, unique and beautiful, that he fashioned in me. May I bend my heart, my head, my hands, my smile, my mood, my work, my sighs, my laughter, my joy, my body, my life towards him every day. This is prayer.

This is a photo of my phone, gift from the most bestest husband on the planet, on which I talk to the humans in my world. The banana just wanted to be in the picture.

Comments

steven hamilton said…
mmm; i agree...its in those moments when words fail that communication is the best with the One so distant yet utterly close...

Popular posts from this blog

fun with hermeneutics

I am a reader. The stacks of books in my bedroom, living room, and office, many of them still waiting to be cracked open, testify to this fact. I love to read, but I also know that not all reading is the same. Some is more work and some is more pleasure. A light work of fiction requires little of me but to engage my imagination and be carried away by the story. Online reading requires a bit (or a lot) of discernment to make sure the sources are reliable and the facts check out. Academic reading requires me to reason through the arguments being made and connect them to what I already know or have read in the field. Reading an ancient text requires that I suspend my 21st century perspective as best I can and learn a bit about the worldview and language of the time. Acknowledging a text's context, intent, and genre enables me to hear the words and ideas in such a way that my view of history and the world are enlarged.

Reading, interpreting, and understanding the Bible are important …

stained and broken

Recently, I was asked to speak at another church, and the passage of Scripture which was assigned to me was John 1:6-8. "There came a man commissioned and sent from God, whose name was John. This man came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe [in Christ, the Light] through him. John was not the Light, but came to testify about the Light." (John 1:6-8, Amplified Bible)

The first question I usually ask when reading something in the Bible is this: What does this tell me about God? Two things are immediately obvious - God is a sending God and God wants to communicate - but there is a third which merits a bit more attention. Though God could communicate directly with humanity, sending truth and love to every individual via some divine mind-and-heart-meld, God chooses to send messengers. Not only that, instead of introducing Jesus directly to the world as the main event, an opening, warm-up act appears as a precursor. What is the point of incorporati…

what binds us together?

For the past few weeks, I have been reading a book by famed psychiatrist M. Scott Peck which chronicles his travels (together with his wife) through remote parts of the UK in search of prehistoric stones. The book is part travel journal, part spiritual musings, part psychology, and part personal anecdotes. A mixed bag, to be sure, and not always a winning combination. At one point, I considered putting the book aside, not finishing it, but then Peck started writing about community. He is no stranger to the concept. He has led hundreds of community-building workshops over the years, helped start a non-profit organisation dedicated to fostering community, and written a compelling book about the topic, one which greatly impacted me when I read it oh so long ago.[1]

In preparation for a course I am teaching next year, I have been doing quite a bit of study on unity and community. Once you start thinking about it, you see and hear evidence of it everywhere. (See my blog on the impact of b…