When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! Matthew 6:7-8
Scripted prayers are what heavenly Dad wanted to talk to me about today. Comfy chair, coffee in hand, and a willing spirit, open to change. Ready.
When I was a kid growing up Wednesday nights were a “Prayer Meeting” at church. I am going to be painfully honest: I hated them. We had kid’s activities going on, but in the event those were cancelled, in with the adults we were placed. Every moment of the “thee’s” and “thou’s” in prayers seemed to take forever. What did those words mean, anyway? They were in the Bible, but unless someone was praying, I never heard them used in conversation.
Oh! But then there was the rare (thankfully, at the time) occasion that it was my turn to pray. My heart would race, I’d get sweaty, try to figure out how I’d “thee and thou” in the right places and make myself sound like a “real” Christian, all holy and what not.
We moved when I was in late middle school and again in high school. The “thee’s and thou’s” fell away because we changed denominations (like flavors of ice cream-same bases of belief/recipe, just a preference of added flavor/doctrine). It was still almost painful to pray in public. I was always afraid I would stumble or not use the right words.
It wasn’t until my mom married 1st step dad, emotionally abusive dude, when I was often alone, in a different state with no family or friends, I started having looong conversations with heavenly Dad.
My prayer life came to be more of a conversation instead of the “list” I would write out to make sure I remembered everything, like at a board meeting, or house closing–so impersonal. I talked to Him about how stinky it was to be 16 then 17 and not have any sort of life. I ranted and raved, but also read His word so I could “hear” His side.
Though I felt betrayed by ones I trusted, my life was not sold, as my heavenly Dad’s son’s was. I was pooh-poohing because I was alone, emotionally/verbally abused and wasn’t happy, and gosh darn it, I was important, too! Heavenly Dad’s son had lost everything, no change that, had given everything. He lost his friends, family, home, dignity, privacy and was sold, abandoned, wrongly convicted, spit on, whipped, stabbed, nailed to a cross and for what?…to save me…and you… .
Would he do it again? In a heartbeat. My life came into perspective when I opened my eyes to see what Christ chose to loose to save me. I stopped babbling, for a while.
When I emerged from that deep valley, I did not communicate with heavenly Dad as much. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Life was ok, so I was doing my “maintenance” praying: confession and a “please heal and fix” handyman list for my heavenly Dad. That’s normal, right?
Then life started getting difficult again. Marriage was hard, I lost two children, Archie started his spastic colon attacks, we almost lost Taylor twice, Archie’s job where he was Assistant Plant Manager shut it’s doors but when round one of cancer hit, I was down for the count.
Angry, that’s an understatement. I argued with heavenly Dad and asked why He didn’t just nail me to the cross and get it over with. THAT was disrespectful, self-centered, self-focused, self-absorbed, and self-indulgent. What do these have in common? That would be “myself.”
Christ was willing to suffer all of these horrible things in a completely selfless way. I was so focused on what I thought was unfair, I couldn’t get my focus off of myself. What does the Bible say? “As far as the east is from the west…,” that’s how far Christ’s sacrifice for me was from my self-centeredness, wishing I could call it quits attitude (and still is, occasionally-just being honest).
Anyway, I didn’t even have the energy to think through what I should have been saying to heavenly Dad. I had nothing. I was nothing, no, that’s not right, that was another selfish lie I was telling myself. I was and am His child that He sacrificed His only son to save. By giving up, I would only be trying to save myself. Ouch.
Babbling? No more. If I get tongue twisted when speaking, it would be no different than if/when I got/get tongue tied speaking to anyone else. At least it would be a real conversation. Besides, He already knows what I’m going to say anyway ;).
Until tomorrow: Blessings!