I hope that this is a venue where I can be as transparent as I want. I have something I want to talk about today, and to do so, I have to open up and share something that I have long struggled with.
If you are a member of my church community and know me from that capacity, this may surprise you. I lead prayer as a part of worship every week. I cherish that opportunity. I love that God has opened that door for me.
However, in my private, personal prayer life, I have struggled for a long time and have only within the past few months begun to enjoy prayer and even look forward to my quiet times with the Lord. As my experience of prayer has changed, so, too, has my general understanding of what it is supposed to be. Recently, as I drove my daughter home from school, God gave me a greater perspective of what this thing called prayer can be.
Now that Jennifer is in “school” two days a week, I don’t know all of what happens in her day. That’s hard for me. She’s my little girl, and I want to know everything that happens, even if I can’t necessarily have any sort of say in it. I want to know what she’s learning and who she’s playing with and what her favorite parts of her day are. I want to know who she sat with at art time and who was next to her at lunch.
I do know some things that happen in her class, though, thanks to the monthly project calendar that her teacher sends home. I’ll know the art project they’ll do on any given day, for instance, and what letter and color are the emphasis for the week. When I pick her up, I pry and prod and try to get her to talk about her day. It’s not that I don’t know what happened in her day or what she learned, but I just want to know what she thought about it…how she feels about it…how it settled on her little heart and mind. I want her to talk to me about the Jennifer aspect of what happened within her day – the micro within the macro of her day. I know what happened…but I want to know her take on it. I want her to talk to me about it. I want HER to tell me.
And THAT is what prayer is. God knows what happened in my day. He doesn’t need me to tell Him. He was by my side in all of it, and He foresaw all of it before it happened. He knows the events of my day, but He wants me to talk to Him about my take on what happened. Our relationship is about more than facts and figures. Our relationship is about feelings and faith.
I would not be satisfied for Jennifer to simply say, “I colored a horse today. Then I went out to the swings. Then we had lunch.” Likewise, God does not want me to simply say, “This is what happened. Then this, and this.” He knows all of that, and He even knows how I feel about those things. What He wants, though, is for me to talk to Him about it. He is longing and waiting for me not to rehash facts, but to pour out my heart.
Our relationship is more “journal entry” than “interrogation.” I’ve finally figured that out, and it has changed everything. I hop out of bed every morning eager to begin my conversation with Him. After an hour, I have to remind myself that there are other things that I have to do in my day. Prayer, at last, is meaningful. It is powerful. It is intimate.
I think, really, that’s the way it’s supposed to be, and I’m grateful to finally have gotten to the heart of the matter.
(Note: Those of you who know my family may be confused by my reference to Jennifer. As my girl gets a little older, I’m giving her a pseudonym anytime I reference her in my online space. When I asked her what name she would want if she could have any name in the world, she said Jennifer. So Jennifer she shall be! Here, anyway….)