It is a really good idea to do a “more like me series”… unless you’ve lost the point of it. Unless your compass feels like it is spinning with no clear, due North.
And so it is with a heavy sigh that I publicly admit that I need the freedom to write in another direction, into the unknown somewhere in which I will actually become more like me in ways that I can’t plot out at the beginning.
To those of you on Facebook group, I eagerly encourage you to join us over at Leannepenny.com where I will be writing again to whatever end the Spirit leads.
Last month I was supposed to center my writing and reflection around the practice of prayer. That didn’t happen. In fact I didn’t pen a single blog post last month, let alone one that inspired or led people into a deeper understanding of prayer.
So in all irony, in April, after I have cancelled the series I feel the ability to say this:
I am not convinced that prayer changes God’s plans. I do believe it centers me around God but I don’t understand why I should pray for healing, for God to intervene, to show up. If he loves and heals, why not show up and heal? If he intervenes, why not do so? Why does my asking him to do so over a mug of cheap coffee have the power to change his mind?
So I struggle and I float around prayer, circling it like a boxer, like a confused cat or a drunken black fly.
I do not know what to make of it.
So as I went through March, not really praying or writing about prayer I noticed a few small points of light surrounding the topic. A few prayers I can actually, in good faith, pray.
They are as follows:
Prayer of the Fireplace
When fall began to take things seriously, Kel went out and bought a box containing several dozen Duraflame fire starters. I used them up, never quite understanding or trusting their magic. The ran out in late February, but I had grown so accustomed to the company of a warm fire that I began to improvise, using dried twigs and scraps of newspaper to start a fire as God intended. I gathered, knelt, fanned flame with forceful breath, and saw God, my soul murmured something akin to: Thank you God for warmth in the midst of snow, for the creativity displayed in the glow of those unearthly embers.
Prayer of the HighChair
Not nearly as poetic as the first prayer, at the end of the day, when the table and highchair are sprinkled with rice and smeared with avocado I put on music and start to put things right again, wiping and scrubbing, loading and unloading and thanking God for the words I was able to find to explain the hard thing to a child, for the laugh we were able to share around the table I’m wiping down.
Prayer of the Backyard
This prayer isn’t pretty, often times I think of opening the slider door off of our dining room, running in the backyard in damp socks and yelling to the sky: “You know I really don’t trust you, how could I?!”
I love to make homemade bread for my family, I don’t always do so because I can’t figure out if grains are wonderful or the devil. But when I give in and make bread I knead it, thanking God for bins of ground up wheat, oversized wooden rolling pins and greasy melted butter.
School Drop Off Prayer
You know how they say that parenthood is letting your heart walk around outside your body? It is and so every morning when I drop my heart off at school to live life 15 miles away from me I breathe out a prayer asking everyone to see each other as God created them to be and to treat each other as such.
Grocery Haul Prayer
You know that feeling when you are driving home with a car load of carefully selected groceries centered around a menu plan of attack and you think, not everyone has this, thank you? That’s the grocery haul prayer.
The Prayer of Pouring Tea
I am trying to back off the wine and the gin and the micro-brewed beer, I’m replacing it with tea in the full knowledge that tea will not dull my nerve endings the way alcohol will. So when I pour the tea I say, dear God sustain me through this mug, show up with me. And he does, generally even more than he did in the stemware.
Sleeping Baby Prayer
Dear God, we made it, we sustained each other and all under your watchful eye. Thank you.
This prayer is exactly like the one above it, except your replace mother and baby with winter and flowers. Wow it all melted, and these colorful explosions of hope survived within the ground and within my chest.
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