Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Monday, February 22, 2010

(re-) Learning to pray

I was feeling really guilty a while back. Guilty, because I don’t think I pray too good. It is this belief I have, like the belief that I am lazy and that I talk too much. Things that are somewhat true, even if sometimes I pull off hiding them.

It really came to me a night not long ago during one of my insomnia-prayers. It started out nice 'n strong with my usual, less-than-formal-but-not-at-all-disrespectful greeting. “Hi, Father,…”. I began with all of my thanking, which I am pretty good at. I can find lots to feel thankful for. It usually starts close to heart and home and then radiates out in a lovely spiral of gratitude, growing ever larger. But the longer I go (and when I have an insomnia-prayer, baby, I go for the long haul), the more distractions pop up in my minefield of a brain. I find myself having been led down some primrose path, pondering conversations, concepts, needs, desires, and to-do lists. It is not until I have utterly digressed that I catch myself with an “Oh, gosh, Father. I am sooo sorry. I totally don’t know how I got on to silk worms” that I redirect myself for a while, but in no time I have found myself in some back alley, well off the main street of my original supplication.

I go ahead and apologize again, then give myself a good old fashioned mind-lashing. “Shame on you! Getting distracted in a prayer! You are talking to the Almighty here, stop goofing off and wasting His time!”

Well, being as lately I have been praying for a good hour each time I find myself waiting for sleep to show up, these misadventures in prayer have been coming a lot more frequently. During a recent replay of this routine,

I stopped.

Instead of my usual apologies and self-castigations, I just told God, “I have this problem. I tangent. I do it when I talk on the phone and when I write, and You know, of course, that I do it when I pray. I think you probably don’t mind it as much as I do, so I am going to try to ignore that it bothers me and just keep praying.”

I had this funny feeling come over me like, “Finally, she’s figured it out! Now we can move on.”

Now, I’m not saying God talked to me (not that he wouldn’t if He needed to, and wouldn't it be lovely if He needed to?), just that it became clear; all of the judgment was my own. God knows me and always has. I don’t have to apologize for praying like I pray. My prayers are my macaroni art; appreciated more for the effort than the eloquence.

I had a little epiphany then, a sort of lights-on moment. My tangents are what take me where I need to get to in my prayers. My walkabouts in the outback of my head uncover things that I need to work on and pray about that aren’t sitting in the front yard of my simpler prayers. God knows me, for heaven’s sake, all puns intended. He gave me the brain that I have, and He knows better than me the good that I stumble upon in my meandering that I would not arrive at otherwise.

Now how was that for a tangent?


1 comment:

rebekahmott said...

I enjoyed this post, mostley because I have that same relationship with Heavenly Father, I had the same feeling of I know you and I get you. I try each time I pray of course not to, but really I know that Heavenly Father would rather have me ramble than not talk to him at all.