Monday, August 27, 2007

Prayer Without Throwing Things

Cindy asked me to contribute to today’s sycroblog about prayer. I told her that at this point in my journey the words that have surrounded my experience of prayer in the church mostly make me want to throw things. I don’t really know what I can contribute to this discussion but here was what I was chewing on all week as I thought about my emerging prayer life.

First a list of the words that now make me oh….so….tired. What prayer is not to me right now.

Prayer warrior, intercessory prayer, prayer of faith, praying in faith, The prayer of faith, unceasing prayer, prayer and fasting, prayer of salvation, prayer march, soaking prayer, prayer meetings, prayer requests, warring prayer, beseeching prayer, foxhole prayer, persistent prayer, strategic level warfare prayer,

(By the way, if you don’t get what some of these are, you must not be in a church as “special” as ours was.)

watchman prayer, prophetic intercessory prayer, spiritual breakthrough prayer, The Lord’s Prayer, praying women, praying wives, praying moms, travailing prayer, deliverance prayer, prayer shield, prayer walking, prayer lines, prayer teams, prayer leaders, prayer towers, prayer rooms, prayer closet, house of prayer, prayer shawl, prayer rug, overcoming prayer, enlarging prayer, healing prayer,

Are you tired yet?

prayer cloths, prayer oil, kneeling in prayer, shouting in prayer, standing in prayer, weeping in prayer, prayer partners, availing prayer, city wide prayer, hidden power of prayer, prayer evangelism, answered prayer, prayer journal, call to prayer, prayer language, prayer in tongues, edifying prayer, expectant prayers, personal prayer, 10/40 prayer window, miraculous prayer, praying through, praying for, praying over, praying around
and on and on and on…..

So without all the trappings of prayer that once made up my life, what is it now? I really have a hard time explaining it.
The closest word that seems to describe it is breath.

You know how it feels to get up in the middle of the night to a crying baby. You go in and change, feed, and rock your child. Along sometime in the dead of night this infant that you have given everything for, finally decides to sleep. As I held my children like this, them breathing softly, it was my favorite time in the world. They were completely satisfied, relaxed and at peace. I was totally enjoying just being there, holding them and listening to their breath.
It was miraculous. It was complete.

Husband asked me on our Friday night date what I was thinking about prayer. I told him that I was having a hard time describing it. He then told me to close my eyes and tell him what God looked like when I thought about prayer.
I told him that God was seated, leaning forward, not speaking, just breathing and listening for my breath. He was not mad at me, (a good jump for my imagination) or impatient, just intent on being with me and listening….both of us…just listening….and breathing. I, listening to his breath and he, to mine.

Right now that is prayer for me.
For once, I’m not saying much. For once, I’m not demanding that he say anything.
For once I just want to be held and be at peace and just


Cindy said...

Barb- I'm so glad you decided to post! I love the images of being with a baby in the night. It describes that feeling of completion so well-- the way that I'd like to experience prayer. Just beautiful.

Erin said...

Hehe Barb are you getting rid of books too? I saw a few titles I recognized in your lists of words, LOL.

Prayer used to be all those things to me, too, even to the point that I think I used every one of those words in prayer at one time or another. I was going to say "You forgot 'travailing'" but nope, you got that one in there, too.

I used to feel so "special" that I was "called" to "prayer ministry". I even kept a little thing of anointing oil on my keychain so I was always at the ready. Can you believe it? I never want to smell frankincense ever again.

I love how you described prayer as "breath". That's perfect. Sometimes it's just like me and God, breathing in unison.

"For once I just want to be held and be at peace and just

Me too.

Anonymous said...

Your list of what prayer is not to you right now is so honest, and it makes you free of the lingo, so to speak.

I love this. Breathing. That is it breathing, resting, silence. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Outstanding. I must have been in a "special" church (before I made a CLB of it, as you know).

prayer walking, praying in the spirit, praying in tongues, prayer chain, prayer team, concert of prayer, twenty-four-hour prayer... prayer of Jabez.

'scuze me, gotta go retch someplace.

I love the listening and breathing parts... maybe prayer is like a concert of listening in unison with God.

Interesting how several of the sycroblog posts today have to do with listening, silence, space, and presence. Wow. It feels as though we're each learning a little to recover a lost art, doesn't it?

Unknown said...

thanks Barb, breathing is good - i love that image of breathing in God and out with God, the way that when you sleep with someone your breathing sychronises...

Marti G said...

I'm feeling special, because I knew everything on your lists, unfortunately. What a bunch of busywork.

I think that's why I love knitting so much. I can quiet my mind and just be with Him.

Anonymous said...

I don't have alot to say, except...
Yes, I get it...all of it.
And Yes, breathing is way better.
Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I love that. Thank you. Like you needed my words today, I needed yours. :)

Anonymous said...

When we have to make up words to explain or day-to-day relationship with Jesus (here's to you, transubstantiation!) we deny the the wonderful simplicity that is the Gospel - that God loves man and longs to be close enough to know the sounds of our lungs when we finally stop talking for a minute or two...

Mary said...

Beautiful, simply beautiful. This is what I long for but haven't been able to articulate. Thank you.

Barb said...

Cindy, thanks so much for inviting me!

Erin, do you wonder who really makes those little anointing oil keychains? I wonder what they think as they make them.

Lyn, it feels good. I need to keep it from becoming another box though hu?

Brother Maynard. Yep, you remembered some that I forgot. I was hoping people would add to the list. It was amazing how many people spoke of the very same thing.
Btw: I always feel like I have made David Letterman’s top 10 list when you mention me in your Saturday posts! Thanks so much for your support!

Paul, that is another good analogy. We get into synch with him.

Malegra…you are special. I need to knit, or quilt. I have always loved people who did.

Che vachon, That is why I love this blog world. You can put something out there and somehow it resonates with others.

Heidi, your last blog should be read by all. Check it out everyone

Cranston, maybe we should make up our own words to replace the big weighty ones. In a way, I think that is what we are doing.

Mary, read your blog too. I haven’t prayed out loud except in front of my kids since we left. I wonder what it will be like when I do.

Anyway all, thanks for reading and commenting. You are such a help to me right now.

Rob said...

As a father who loves to hold his children, and just "be" with them, your post really resonated with me on the topic of prayer.


Anonymous said...

This is beautiful.
I can so relate. These are some of the same thoughts I had.
I have been prayer meetinged out!

Thanks for this.