Category Archives: Pray

On Humility

An unexpected personal finding: praying is hard.  Praying every night, which I resolved to do, whatever the circumstances, is unexpectedly hard. Sometimes I don’t want to.  Sometimes I’d rather work late, or surf the Net or do the laundry, or talk to my husband…or anything…rather than get down on my knees and pray to my Father and admit the sins of the day.  Especially if they were the sins of yesterday and the day before that and so on and so on.

I failed again.  I’m sorry.  Please forgive me.  Again.

We’re so used to being proud of ourselves for our accomplishments and sweeping the failures under the rug.  To bring them out each night is humbling.  Once in a while though, I feel, even as I fight myself to surrender, the joy of it.

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Magnetic Cries

Magnetic Cries

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Psalm 131 (Paraphrased)

Our pastor had us write a prayer to God by putting Psalm 131 in our own words this morning.  I'm giving you mine here.  It isn't all that true to the psalm and I'm desperately resisting the urge to rewrite it and not show you the spontaneous 5 minute exercise, but…but…I realized on the way home it is the first thing I've ever created just for God.  I hope he considers it as precious as I considered my childrens' first macaroni and glue crafts.

Father, I'm just trying to live my daily life. 

I don't want to be Oprah or Angelina.

I don't need to be Stephen Hawking or CS Lewis. 

I'm here in Denver, everyday,

Doing my job, raising my monkeys.

I am practicing coming to you.

I have found peace at the foot of my bed in prayer

and at Discount Tire, by surprise.

Oh Denver, relax and breathe.

Hope, Denver – always. 

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A Most Relaxed Witness

I get a massage every two weeks. My first massage therapist was a no-nonsense ex-military slip of a girl and stronger than you could imagine her to be. I was so sad when she moved on to another location that was too far for me to follow her to. So I tried again, and ended up with Micah (as always, not her real name).

Michah is a lovely, soft-spoken butterfly type girl. She's quite intuitive, and she's really been able to help me with those horrid knots I get in my shoulders and neck from being hunched over the computer all the time.

Shortly after Easter, I had been asking a friend about false gods and angels in disguise. We ended up having quite a discussion about New Agers, mystical "spirituality" and the dangers lurking behind the "it's all good" facade. I decided that I'd ask Micah if she used any alternative healing techniques for her massages, you know – just in case. I was relieved when she said no, she just used plain old physical therapy techniques. Unfortunately, then she went on to say that she really *wanted* to get into the eastern spiritual techniques and had been dreaming of going to India to learn from a guru or some sort.

I didn't say anything at the time, but felt concern for her. It occurred to me several times during the next two weeks that I might want to pray for Michah, and so I did.

Yesterday, I had my regular appointment with her. I wanted to talk to her more about what her plans were, but didn't quite know how to bring it up. So I told her that I was excited (which I was) about my plans later that evening to go to an emerging church that my church sponsors. I'd heard a lot about it, and Alexander and I were going to go see what it was all about. She was interested, so I told her about how the emerging churches are specifically for people who don't feel like they belong in a traditional church, and that I'd seen a book about it recently called No Perfect People Allowed [Burke].

She laughed and told me her father had been a Christian and her mother a Jehovah's Witness. I offered that it must have been confusing for her. She told me that it was, but that she was now getting involved in Wicca. She said that she has always been drawn to the power of the earth and nature and the tolerance of the Wiccans really appealed to her. I was a bit taken aback at that point, and will admit to a momentary feeling of alarm. First from a stupid personal fear perspective, and then from an "Oh dear, I have no idea how convince someone who wants to be a witch that it might be a poor life choice" perspective. Fortunately, it was just a knee-jerk reaction and disappeared as quickly as it came.

I still had no idea what really to say, so I just told her my story of how I came to feel like I needed to go back to church, and once I got there, that God indeed did want to talk to me. I told her about how different my experience was from when I was a teenager. How I found out that you didn't have to "earn your way to heaven" or follow a bunch of stupid rules so (maybe if you were lucky) you wouldn't go to hell. I told her how Jesus died for all of our sins and paid off the debt and He just did it just because he loves us. He offers us this amazing gift and he offers it to everyone and it's just as simple as saying yes. Then He shows you how to do all the rest, one step at a time. Or at least it was something like that. It's hard to remember the details because I *was* getting a massage, after all :)

We fell silent for a while, and then I told her about my dream of the rain storm. I told her how I felt God had been reminding me gently for years that He was still there, and then he brought His enormous storm into my life. And how another friend at work had the insight that the storm was not just for me, but for the people all around me, people that I knew and people that were in my town. Micah seemed to see this right away.

I didn't say anything about Wicca, but I did tell her that I understand (and believe me I DO) that it's so hard to find the truth when there are so many voices telling you they know what you should do. I offered her the advice that's been given to me: Look at the message behind the words. Look at the people saying the words – are they good people? Are they living the life they talk about? Do they have your best interests at heart?

I told her about the feelings that I should be praying for her. She got a bit teary at this point, and didn't say why, but said that the last three weeks had been really hard and she really did need it.
I invited her to come to the "alt.church" with us that night, but unfortunately she had to go to her other job right after my appointment. But she seemed like she really wanted to go, and she thanked me seriously for telling her all that I did. She said she hadn't quite understood it that way before. I told her it was about the best thing I could tell anybody and I was happy to do it. I suggested if she really wanted to find out about Jesus that she say just a little prayer to let Him know.

I have been examining my heart whether I should post things like this or not. I know my tendencies toward pride, and so I am trying hard to make sure my motives are worthy. Yes, I am happy. I'm joyful my Father might be working to touch Micah's heart through me. I feel like this account might show someone else how ordinary situations can turn so extraordinary. That apologetics isn't just for fancy debates among scholars. That the people around you are still looking for truth even if they don't talk about it.

So please help me pray for Micah. This story doesn't use her real name, but God will know who you're talking about.

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Sometimes You Just Need The King James Version

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done in earth,
as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:

For thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory,
for ever.

Amen.

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

This is the way I learned these as a child. It makes me feel like a child again to recite them to my Father, and I think that is good.

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