I tend to make things messy. The more of me that enters a situation, the more awkward things seem to be spiritually. Can I get a witness? I have said before that I am a nervous talker. There are no calm silences around me. My husband calls that my hostess voice because my pitch gets higher. I start to try to feed everyone, even if they don’t want it. I think that I certainly have done my part for the obesity epidemic in this nation. My understanding is that the more full people are, the happier they can be…probably my
So my natural tendency to fill the space, works against me in prayer. I talk about prayer a lot. I think that everyone knows that they need to do it…BUT, there is always a but, you are usually a fan or not. In theory, it is simple. It is based on something that we do even with complete strangers, talking. The difference is that we talk to people while doing dishes, eating, watching TV or checking email. We are rarely asked to sit, face-to-face and talk with anyone.
That would mean that two people are doing nothing for the advancement of something for a few moments. That would mean that children have to take those ear buds out for a second. (Side note: I went out to lunch with my husband and across the aisle was a teenage boy. He was wearing a baseball cap but kept fixing his hair to fall in his eyes perfectly, then adorning this creation again with the cap. To me, a waste of time, but it is the new thing, so whatever. Then when his parents came back from the bathroom, he put his ear buds back in and put his head down on the table. I could not help but stare because that is not his fault. His parents were sitting across from him…hmmm? I can only assume that they did not like him enough to talk to him. I digress.)
Ladies probably do this face-to-face business more than men do. Although, I have found that when I hang out with my friends it is seldom without a child running around. I usually have one ear of any mother. I believe that all women have this ability, though. This one eared nature works for us all day; and this one eared nature works to our detriment when quieting the mind. Matthew 22:37, NRSV, “He said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’" This could be a sort of mantra as we lead ourselves into this prayer thing.
What kind of a praying woman are you?
There are some people that pray their list of demands to God. It is an interesting way to make a point. I am not sure if God is overly impressed with the business relationship that it implies. This is the person of limited time resources, who probably has a full plate and feels lucky to get these five minutes in each day.
I have been all types of prayer people and I am not refined by any means. In fact, I have really struggled in this area, sometimes even with the desire to do it. I can honestly say that this business mentality robs me of the joy of the presence of Christ. He wants for me to want to be with Him, and realizing this has changed my heart towards prayer. I find it hard to squeeze in this type of experience. I don’t know how mothers do it. Feel free to give tips.
Then there are some who desperately try, but can never slow it down and quiet themselves long enough to be aware with whom they are actually trying to dialogue. I just want to give them a hug and sit down to pray with them. This is a place that I have definitely camped. I treated prayer like a search and destroy mission just so they could be a part of the activity.
Then we do this funny thing of speeding up our minds because we are trying to slow it down. The longer it takes, the more frustrated we get. I usually leave for a second and come back to it when I have these days. I recently read something that I found really valuable. It put out the idea that sometimes God allows a little white noise to encourage your tenacity in prayer. Part of coming to this spiritual practice is the desire for Christ. These experiences can definitely demonstrate our desire.
I consider myself pretty moderate in prayer, although I guess it all depends on who you ask. I have fallen into the all day prayer approach. Since we are told to pray without ceasing, how can we get it all in, if we don’t? Every day is different for me. I sit before Him some days and it is very silent. I don’t try to drive the train anymore. I don’t start with talking.
Sometimes to get me in His presence, I simply say His name over and over, until I am aware with whom I am speaking. Until I understand that this ground is holy, and He is the Creator and I am His created. I pray for my husband and myself…very important to pray for yourself.
I ask Him to teach me how to be a wife. Who else can do that? I pray for the sick, the troubled and my family. I pray for what is brought to my mind during the day. When I am asked by others to pray for certain things, I usually pray on the spot. That way I don’t forget. I, also, pray with people when given the opportunity. A dear friend taught me that. I have found that nothing, not what I say, what I have prepared, what my time line appears to be, is as important as my actual presence, my heart, soul and mind.
Prayer brings to experience that it is He who lives in me. It is not me communing with the Father in prayer, placing my agenda before him, but God doing His work in me while the Spirit communes with Christ. If the goal is that I am taken out of the equation, then the real chit-chat should be the groaning of the Spirit, and my words are few and concise. Matthew 6:7 & 8, NRSV, “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him”.
The truth is that we really have very little to do with it. The Father has this one under control. That is so awesome isn’t it? So, let’s pray in the presence of the Lord.
Father, thank you for the gift of your Spirit. Thank you for giving us a way to know you so intimately. Give us the opportunity to commune with you today, through the groaning of Your Spirit. Give us greater understanding of the power of prayer.