Last week I had an epiphany about my prayer life and it’s probably going to look pitiful on paper but it really did make a big difference to me and I want to share it in the event that you can relate. When I talk to the Lord, I have realized I do it like He doesn’t know who I am. I originally thought I had to be on my knees next to my bed (left side, candle burning) in order for Him to hear me but then years later I rebelled and just did it while sitting straight up. I like to push the envelope, what can I say?
It seemed like I was still connecting despite the fact that I wasn’t following my little rules, so I went with it. I became accustomed to just talking to Him wherever I was (madness, I tell you), but until recently I didn’t realize that I still had some learning to do. I’m kind of laughing as I write this because it sounds funny to even say, but the truth is that I typically pray like this:
“Dear Jesus (wait until He has had a chance to turn His eternal gaze on me instead of the other thing He was doing. Not scripturally accurate but nonetheless, I do), I would like to lift up so-and-so to you. She is really processing her divorce and I’m concerned for her. Lord, what can I do to help? What should I be saying to her?”
It goes on like this for a few minutes, me talking like I’m talking to a psychiatrist who just pulled my file. And sometimes (gasp!) I get distracted and then I start over. “Sorry Lord. I just started thinking about how this other person really irritates me and I kind of chased the rabbit trail a little. I also ate some Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls but now I’m back and I’m ready to focus.”
It’s like I have to have a powerpoint presentation before I feel like I’ve prayed efficiently.
For crying out loud, how weird is that? And yet, some of you are nodding your heads right now because you have felt the same thing. You feel like you’re talking to Someone Who has other things to do and you just want to walk away feeling like you did it “right.” Because certainly the God of the heavens can’t piece it together if I don’t help Him out.
Last night Amy (from Selah) and I were getting ready to go to a movie (Inception, if you must know. And don’t think the irony isn’t lost on me. And also, I’m still confused about the whole thing, start to finish). Charlotte was crying about something and Todd had taken her into the bedroom to try and calm her down. It wasn’t going very well so he brought her back out and Amy took her. All the while I was acutely aware that she wanted to be swaddled, turned slightly into someone’s chest with her pacifier in her mouth and her lamb making the ocean wave sound. I’m pretty sure Miss Kelsey (who has saved our lives and is currently watching the kids so I can hide in the bedroom and write) just shouted Amen because she knows the drill too. But it’s a recent development and Todd was out of town for a few days so he didn’t know about the magic of the lamb (once again, the irony is kind of like a sack of potatoes falling on my head. Subtle, you know?).
I picked her up and walked her into her nursery and a few minutes later she was completely asleep and Todd came in to see what I had done to calm her down. After he walked out I continued to rock her and I had one of those moments where you just know the Lord is trying to impress something upon your heart so you listen.
She didn’t say a thing. She didn’t label her needs and desires with boxes to check off. You knew them already because you know her. You know the sound of her hungry cry and the sound she makes when she’s falling asleep contented. You don’t need her to explain, because you love her well enough to know.
Well, that’s because I’m her mother. Naturally I know.
And exactly Who do you think I am?
God likes to trump me with one-liners. He knows I appreciate timing and punch.
I start to realize that I pray to Him as if He doesn’t already know everything. As if I’m another customer in the long line of people Who want to talk to Him. I’m like three steps away from making an appointment.
I don’t even hear the little Lamb playing because I’m so darned convinced that I need to show Him where the swaddle is. He doesn’t need a preface. He doesn’t want a 5 step plan. He wants me to be with Him. I have this weighted feeling that if I forget to pray specifically, it won’t happen. If someone writes me and asks me to pray for their child and I screw up and forget, what will happen? It will all fall apart, right? Because it was dependent on me to explain. He didn’t understand and I would have been the one person who could have intervened. Logic at it’s finest, folks. Hope you picked up on that.
I know it in my head and I believe I love Him this way but for some reason the praying is different. When I saw Charlotte sleeping I knew He was trying to teach me something that would deepen our relationship. Instead of rattling off a list last night, I laid in bed (Oh yes I did. And He heard me anyway) and I thought of a person in my life who has really wounded me. As the face of that person sat in my mind, I just let it sit. I didn’t try to pepper it with my side or explain how wronged I had been, I just rested knowing that He knew it already. And it was a relief. And then He told me I was right and that person was wrong, wrong, wrong. Well, I’m pretty sure anyway.
I freak out when I don’t have control (airplanes, anyone? I’d probably be fine if I was the pilot!) and I feel the need to fill in all the gaps. I’m really going to try and change this, and I have worked out a very specific checklist in order to free myself from it.
That last part was a joke. Kind of.
I want to let Him be Him in my prayer. I want to be able to rest knowing that I don’t have to work to pray, because He is in the business of knowing already. Does that make sense? If not, you should see Inception because this will be really simple after that.
I just wanted to encourage you all to reach out to the God who has already filled the gaps, and embrace Him as the Father Who doesn’t need anything from you. You are freed from responsibility, and enabled, through grace, to be a part of the miracle.
Ahhh. Doesn’t that feel nice?
Rest in Him today, friend.
With much love and an alarming selection of highlighters,
P.S. Thank you Miss Kelsey! We love you!