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