Friday, July 17, 2015


I had a good conversation about prayer last week. Essentially, I remarked, in response to a challenging situation, that I’d be spending some time in prayer about it, since that’s what we religious folk do. We listen to sisters and brothers when they’re hurting, planning for surgery, or otherwise facing something important. And we offer to pray, which we then do, at home or even right there and then!

Thus, at least, is the intention. I’d be the church’s biggest hypocrite if I pretended that every time I’ve uttered that phrase, “You’ll be in my prayers,” I did so immediately, and for the proper number of days. The thing is, sometimes I don’t pray. I forget, or get busy, or focus only on my desires and worries like the selfish sinner we all can be, or I’m angry with God, so I stay off my knees. For whatever reason, occasionally I’ve responded to folk in need with an offer to pray, almost without thinking. And while I certainly intended to do to it, I didn’t. Please forgive me!

I wish that weren’t so. But I’ve never developed a regimented, structured prayer-life. I doubt I will. And I think Jesus is fine with that. God made each of us different. I respect those who pray ten minutes in the morning, twenty at night, fifteen over lunch. They struggle with keeping their prayer-life fresh. I struggle with keeping mine active.

But it matters to me still. So I’ve tried discovering ways to build more moments with God into my routine. Mealtime prayers are typical, now. I’m trying to shape reactions to events into brief opportunities for remembering God. When I see a person hurting- “God, help her.” When the sky is beautiful- “God, well done!” The goal is keeping up communication, not becoming a stranger, which can happen with God when your spiritual instincts are like mine. And the need for that goal became personally obvious last week.

You see, Tabitha and I learned that our foster son is headed home before school starts. That, of course, is great news. The point of fostering is to love and support a child who’s endured tough stuff, until he’s able to return to a more stable home.

I’m also heartbroken, because all that loving and supporting means he got under my skin, in mostly wonderful ways. So I’m going to miss him. And while I know we’ve been building toward that and even preparing for the pain of him going home, it still hurts, as it was always going to. Thus, I’m both proud of myself and a mess!

So I told someone about it last week, and we discussed praying for the situation, and that’s right. Like the old Motown song, whenever we call God or need God, God’ll be there. God’ll be around. But we also remarked that it’s probably good I’ve been trying to be in communication with God recently. That way, when I dropped to my knees, I wouldn’t have to begin by excessively reintroducing myself!

Which put a new frame for me around the topic of daily prayer. Usually, I think about praying regularly as a religious duty, me fulfilling God’s expectations. And, really, my own expectations! Because I don’t consider prayer odious. I love to do it…when I get around to it. But I was struck by this notion that consistent prayer is useful for building us up, preparing us for when the storm clouds arise, keeping our anchor lines maintained, for when we’ll really need to pray. Maybe you find that interesting too. We get closer to God, primarily, because God’s worth it. But so too because, when our time to relay on that unbreakable rock arrives, we’ll know better how to fall.

In any event, that’s what I’ve been thinking about. If you’ve got better insights into prayer, please let me know. Also, will you pray for my family, when you think it? And for our foster son, that his transition home will bring joy and peace, now and for years to come.
It’s been a privilege to be part of his journey. Thank you for helping us along the way.

Grace and Peace,
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