Praying Present

The other day I prayed a lot.

But not at all.

Not really.

I journalled thoughts kind of aimed at God like a wad of paper flipped haphazardly over my shoulder towards the trash can.

I repeated the words of the Lord’s Prayer in church along with everyone else.  Really fast like in a race.

I tossed up a “Please guide Katy and Maggie” in the direction of the Other as I drove.

We said an obligatory a blessing before each meal.

But at the end of the day I didn’t really feel like I had prayed at all.  I certainly didn’t feel like I had had a conversation with the Lord of the universe.

I hadn’t honored Him, and I hadn’t paid attention.

I hadn’t thought about what I was doing or saying.  I hadn’t listened for His response.

I wasn’t engaged.

At all.

My “prayers” were more like casually hitting a tennis ball against a backboard at the park while thinking about my to-do list.

I was guilty of the empty liturgy I criticize.  Babbling at the sky with words, words, and more words.

I was missing an awareness of Who I was talking to, and an attentiveness to what He might want to actually say to me.

John read this and said he thought I was being too hard on myself.  I assured him I wasn’t, but just that it was a realization at the end of a day that I wasn’t paying attention.  However, as I reflected more, I thought, “Today I’ve treated the Lord of the Universe, the one who spoke this into being

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like a teenager at a McDonald’s drive through.”  Maybe it should be a kind of big deal.

I’m sure there a lots of reasons for this, but I’m wondering if the main one is lack of silence.

I love people.  I love noise.  I love energy.  I love being productive.  Therefore almost all I do is done while multi-tasking with at least a background hum of conversation and activity.

But the Bible doesn’t say, “Text and walk and listen to Pandora and know that I am God.”

Instead, “Be still and know that I am God.”

When I’m never still, and always doing, always talking, I begin to be deluded that I am God.

When I’m silent and still I can focus.  I can pay attention.  I can listen.

And remember who’s God instead of me.

So…I’m trying to pray present.

Silent on my knees by my bed.

Silent in the car while driving.

Silent in the sanctuary at the Easter Prayer Vigil.

I live most days with a posture of “Listen Lord, for your servant is saying so many important things!.”  As in, “babbling at You like a self-absorbed baby.”

This week, instead, I want to live with a posture of “Speak Lord, for your servant is paying attention, and listening, and talking (just a little bit) to You.”

4 Comments

  1. Thank you, Laura. This one really hit home. My own prayer life looks so much like what you described. Time is my enemy. For those of us who are wired to “do, do, do” (or simply continue to have ADHD as an adult as is my case) the enemy knows how to convince me that all the other things on my plate in a given day are somehow more important than being silent and reverent before the one who spoke us into being. What a lie! Thanks for your encouragement.

  2. Oh man, this one hit the bullseye Laura! But the Bible doesn’t say, “Text and walk and listen to Pandora and know that I am God.” Thanks for sharing!!

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