Right now, talking to You seems like a chore.
It's more of an oughta
than a wanna.
"Pray for me!," she asks.
And I do.
I pray to a God she doesn't believe in...on her behalf.
It feels heavy, as if I have to have enough belief for the both of us.
I suspect she thinks of prayer in the same way that people bury saints upside in their yards to sell houses, or kiss a blarney stone for luck, and blow out birthday candles to make a wish.
A superstition. A good luck charm. A magic word.
And what does she really want me to pray?
That the elderly man will be healed of the cancer that riddles his body?
However, he's lived a full life and he's likely tired of pitting the good cells against the bad ones.
Maybe he wants to be done.
Should I pray that she gets to say good-bye?
Or perhaps that she can grieve openly and well,,, surrounded by loved ones.
Or maybe, just maybe, this will be the first time she encounters You.
In her grief.
In the prayer that didn't work.
"Pray for me," he mentions.
And I mean to.
I really do.
But I forget.
Sometimes I can barely manage my own prayers and it seems too much to take on anyone else's.
But You want me to.
It's community. A bigger picture. A bearing of burdens.
So I tentatively put my head into the yoke, which still feels heavy, but You make light.
You always do.
You work best in paradox.
Death into life.
Last, now first.
Suffering to joy.
Lions and lambs.
Then comes my prayer, but my lips are silent and my heart feels empty.
Seems I'm mumbling to the ceiling again.
WHERE ARE YOU??
With my head and with my heart I do KNOW that you are there.
Sometimes I need to feel it too.
But I know that feelings come and go, even though you remain.
Prayer is work sometimes.
And just like marriage, it doesn't rely on feelings...rather commitment.
Throughout the day I sometimes toss out Twitter-prayers
140 characters or less
"Hey God! Thanks for the snow on the trees. You're quite an artist."
"Help me be...patient, strong, organized, brave, compassionate."
It's constant contact throughout the day and that's something, right?
But You never re-tweet or favorite.
Then You remind me...you always do,
That prayer is a conversation.
Not a one-way list of demands or thanks.
You invite me to crawl into Your lap as You wrap Your maternal God-wings around me.
You tell me to whisper in Your ear.
To nestle in and hear the beat of Your heart.
To sense Your presence and Your love.
To stop the busy. Stop the demands.
Be still and listen.
You work best in paradox.
The created speaks to the Creator.
God knows and loves man.
You empower me to approach You with intimacy, but trembling and fear,
In awe of Your holy friendliness.