Years ago we were living in Washington D.C. You know…the city where everyone is someone and power is capital.
I was young, and I had two children under the age of two. I was sleep-deprived. And I don’t really “do” politics. I can’t name all the justices of the Supreme Court. I was about a year behind with most current events (I was currently un-current). And did I mention I was young?
John and I were invited to a party in Kenwood around someone’s pool at a big, fancy home with a park-like yard. Great! I love people and I love beautiful homes and I love parties (even sleep-deprived). And if I’m outside, all the better.
It was a delightful kid-free time, and I spent a long chunk of it chatting with a very nice distinguished-looking man by the pool. I can’t remember what we talked about, but it certainly wasn’t world affairs.
Afterwards, as John and I were driving home and this was our conversation.
John: Laura do you KNOW who you were talking to back there?
Me: Yeah, his name was David.
John: Laura, that was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff!!
Me: Is that important?
(Did I mention I’m not very political?)
John: Laura! The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff! As in, the highest ranking military officer in the United States. As in, the principal advisor to the President, the National Security Counsel, and the Secretary of Defense.” (Think the “boss of all the power in the world”)
I knew his name was David, but I didn’t know his other names or titles. I didn’t know the experience or the power that he had.
I was speaking to him as a new friend, which was fine with him, but I didn’t realize there was so much more to know and respect about him.
I wonder if it would have changed how I talked to him or what I said, if I had known more about him going into the conversation.
Last Monday I posted on my struggle to pray present. I said that I’ve come to recognize lack of silence as an ingredient missing in the whole prayer relationship.
But as I went through the day, purposefully choosing the discipline of silence in an effort to truly be present to God, I found another part of the struggle was really and truly thinking about WHO it is I am talking to.
When I feel alone, I’m talking to El Roi, “the God who sees me” (Genensis 16:7-13).
When I rage at injustice and beg for the kingdom to be made right, I’m talking to Shophet, the God who is Judge (Psalm 94:2-15).
When I marvel at the mountains or a sunrise I am praising Elohim, God the “Mighty Creator” (Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 40:28, 29).
When I need to be reminded of God’s guidance and protection I’m talking to Yahweh Roi, my Shepherd (Psalm 23).
When I repent and ask forgiveness I’m talking to Arnion, the Lamb of God who took the punishment for my sins (John 1:29; Isaiah 53:7).
A bit of a game-changer. I’m not talking to a metal box as I zip through a drive-thru. It takes attention and time and not multi-tasking for me to really enter into prayer with this awareness.
So this morning as I was feeling shaky and unsure, I thought about the fact that I was speaking to Yahweh tsuri, my Rock.
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.”Isaiah 26:3-4
I realize how seldom I really think about who I’m talking to when I pray. What about you?