A praying person

I’ve been thinking a lot about prayer lately. Actually, no, that’s a lie. I’ve been praying a lot more lately.

'Pray' photo (c) 2012, RelaxingMusic - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/One of my favorite authors talks about how she’s prayer-ish. She says that she’s prayer-ish like she’s yoga-ish. She wants to be a person who’s all calm and centered and does yoga, but by the time her sweats are on her kids are crying, or something is burning on the stove, or her editor’s calling, or something else comes up and she never quite makes it to the gym. So, yoga is nice in theory but very hard to follow through on. She says that’s how she is about prayer. She wants to be a person who prays, but at best she’s prayer-ish, if she’s honest.

If I’m honest, I’m prayer-ish too. I have the best of intentions to pray and I want to be a person who prays about…well, everything…but I’m easily distracted and something always comes up.

I’m thinking now, though, that sometimes things come up that kick you right into being praying person. Your marriage falls apart, or your boyfriend gets sick, or you lose your job and money gets tight. You get into fight with a friend, or your church, or your boss and everything starts to feel just a bit unhinged. Or maybe you start to feel unhinged. Whatever it is, all of sudden, you find yourself driving, or showering, or running on the treadmill AND praying.

And then you get an email or a text or a phone call, and you find yourself talking to God about whatever it is, like He’s sitting right next to you, with the same kind of language you use in your everyday life with your everyday friends. You’re just being you, spending a little time talking to Jesus.

And then you sent out a text, or an email, or a phone call, and you find yourself asking other people to pray for you, or your husband, or your boyfriend, or your friend, or your boss.

And you begin to realize that prayer changes things. Maybe it doesn’t change the situation, maybe your marriage falls apart or you lose your job or your friend, even though you’re praying. But, you start to realize that prayer is changing you. The spending time with God that you’re doing is shifting your head out of dark places and bleak beliefs, and you’re starting to feel hopeful. Hope in spite of the situation, hope in spite of stacked odds, hope in the midst of feeling really sad. And maybe you begin to find that this little band of friends who you’ve called on to pray for you are becoming “your people,” and they’re shouldering pieces of the situation that you can’t. Maybe you find that their fervent belief that you are going to be okay actually helps you feel okay. And in the midst of everything, you’re just really glad for this little band of friends who love you and are in the mess with you.

And maybe, just maybe, this is how you find yourself all of a sudden a praying person.

Not that I’m saying this is how it’s worked out for me or anything. Except that I’m a lot more about prayer and a lot less about “ish” these days.

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10 thoughts on “A praying person

  1. Wow. I love this, and I can totally relate. I have my “prayer” days and my “prayerish” days. One of my old bosses once told me that I was good at “faking it” in the corporate world until I could actually do/be the think I was supposed to be. I “faked” being a manager for quite sometime before I think I actually became more leader than leaderish.

    I’m hoping maybe I can become a prayerful person by pushing through the prayerish days in the same way.

    1. That’s really good perspective – “faking” it til you make it, being “leaderish” before you’re a leader. We talked about that in my counseling classes all the time, about how sometimes we have to encourage a client to act even when they don’t feel like it or think it’ll be helpful. Sometimes the feelings and the thoughts catch up to the behaviors that are already in place. And I’m thinking that maybe this is how the spiritual disciplines work sometimes? Sometimes you do the discipline, like praying, because it’s a work that’s good for you, even when you don’t feel the “goodness” of it all the time.

  2. Why are we so connected? I have been thinking a lot about praying lately. I pray maybe too much if that’s possible… sometimes close to constant prayer. (Which can lead me to apologetic prayer for being annoying – hopefully He finds that amusing.) But I’ve been realizing that when it comes to praying for myself, I really only pray for the little things. “Lord, please help me merge safely and not kill anyone.” or “Lord, please help me to be a better wife/daughter/worker/friend, etc.” So small issues, or vague issues. But never the big stuff, and hardly ever any type of healing, unless it’s praying that I’m better enough to not freak out my Dad or something. So I guess it’s quality that I need to work on instead of quantity. Or maybe what I really need to work on is trust – with my entire life, not just the small things. Thanks for making me think deeper, as always! ❤

    1. Carrie, you are one of my favorite people. 🙂 I hear you here, friend, and I’m asking a resounding question too: why are prayers for healing so hard to pray?? I mean, I know there are people who do it all the time, pray for healing for all kinds of people in their lives, but I am so not one of those people. It’s like I don’t know how to have a radical faith that believes God is still in the business of doing miracles. It might not look like water to wine, it might look like gall stones instead of cancer – but it’s a miracle nonetheless. But, I’m still working through the pieces of what I think about that. A blog post for another day, methinks.

      1. Hmmm, I would definitely be interested to read a blog post on that… but that scentence doesn’t really hold that much weight since you know I’m interested to read everything you write. 🙂 But I may have a skewed view on healing, since there’s been a ridiculous amount of sickness in my family. I’ll definitely have to tell you a couple of stories… my cousin’s story is incredible! And maybe I’ll just email you some of the stories that make me more emotional, so that I can actually do it justice instead of just blubbering on. 🙂 But they are definitely stores that you can see God at work in! Even in the bad stories, He’s the glimmer of light!

  3. I love the ish-ness of this. When I pray for something off of a menu of my own choosing, I shouldn’t be surprised when God doesn’t deliver what I ordered from the kitchen. I guess He’s not my waiter, huh!

    He is more apt to be sitting at the table right next to me whispering in my ear, making slight gestures, trying to interrupt … waiting to be noticed. In the ish-ness of it all, I feel His Spirit cause me to make eye-contact with a customer coming through my check-out line and instead of asking the structured routine “How’s your day gone, so far?” I notice that she has had a really crappy day. Her eyes are screaming while her body is trying to hold it together long enough to buy something for supper. In the ish-ness of it all, I ask her, “What’s your favorite flower color?” and then run over to give her a bouquet of light-purple roses instead. Is that an answer to prayer? I think she might think so … and it might not be as ish-y for her as it was for me.

    Give me some time to think about that. It might hit me later. Thank you.

    1. Yeah, you’ve given me some things to think about here too. Like, how “ish-y” are things on the receiving end of being someone whose been prayed for? That is a good question. Thanks for your comment, Jim!

  4. My prayer, at least the one I intend to pray more than I actually do, is “Where are you at work here, Lord? How can I help?” The overwhelmingly grateful response of that woman and the look on her face as I handed her the random gift cannot be described within the confines of this blog comment. I was just responding to what I thought I was called to do in that tiny, seemingly insignificant moment. Those flowers will shrivel up and be tossed in the trash in a few days. But God’s work through them may take on a life of their own in her life. I may never know if or why or how. And now that I think about it, I am totally OK with that. I am already anticipating hearing another answer to the same ishy kind of prayer in the middle of another busy day — both mine and the one of some stranger who has been praying for something only God knows I have to offer.

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