Gratitude Day 110 – Prayer

Mon., Sept. 3, 2018

Luke 11:1 – When Jesus had finished praying, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his followers to pray.”

For Americans, today (Monday) is Labor Day. Most businesses are closed. It’s the last hurrah of summer for some; a symbolic end of summer and the beginning of fall. It’s a national holiday that appreciates work and the need for a break.

I have been thinking about what to do today for several days:

I could paint the upstairs bathroom.

Write.

Can the cucumbers I’ve been delaying canning for about a week.

Move some plants in the flower beds that I would like to move before fall.

Continue in the upstairs storeroom, which I have been trying to clean-out for months.

Go for a walk and have lunch with Hubby Rick.

Do laundry.

Read.

These are all very good ideas. But I kept feeling like there was something else I should be focusing on.

Sunday afternoon, I figured it out.

hands_pray_crop21

I would focus the day on prayer.

In its most basic sense, prayer is communion with God. It’s being aware of God in our lives. Having a simple conversation with God, as if you were having a cup of coffee or a soda with God. It’s speaking … and listening.

Too often, we think of prayer as our opportunity to present before God our laundry list of wishes and desires. What we often fail to remember is that the main purpose of prayer is NOT to have God simply answer our big and little requests. Prayer is not about changing God. In its most defining act, prayer is about changing who we are. Maybe look at prayer the way Luther did, “Even if we don’t catch anything, we come back different than when we left.”

front porch

Many, many people say to me, “But I don’t know how to pray.” Here’s the great news: there is no wrong way to pray. Honestly, it’s hard to get prayer wrong. Raw prayer is not something we accomplish. It’s something we enter.

I think it is easy for people to assume a narrower bandwidth of prayer than God envisions. We think prayer “must” be done a certain way. God really doesn’t care if you are showering, walking, lying down or sitting straight up in a chair. God is more than happy with a pre-written prescribed prayer, as God is with a spontaneous, off-the-cuff prayer. The words or location or body position are not nearly as important to God as they maybe to us. God is happy when we allow ourselves to show up on God’s radar screen and have even the smallest of interactions.

front porch chair

Here’s what I think we can confirm about prayer: it matters, and we don’t have to get it right. Jesus and the Holy Spirit intervene for us when we don’t get it right. Can I get a “Praise the Lord?”

Prayer can and should be wherever it feels right for you. One suggestion is to do what you love to do, where you feel relaxed and joyful. As you do these things, listen for God while you are at it. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll hear something exciting.

God has spoken to me in the most mundane ways: while raking leaves, driving in the car, waiting in line at the store and a thousand other ways. We expect God to show up in a particular way when we pray. For assistance with this, think of how C.S. Lewis writes, “The world is crowded with God. God walks everywhere incognito. And the incognito is not always hard to penetrate. The real labor is to remember, to attend. In fact, to come awake. Still more, to remain awake.”

raindrops 2

So today, Monday, Labor Day: I plan to remain awake to God’s presence in this world and in my life. As I go about doing some of those things on my potential to-do list, where will I find God? Where will God find me? What is God trying to say to me these days and I haven’t quieted myself long enough to hear? I anxiously await God’s voice in my life.

raindrops

As I typed these words, it’s Sunday afternoon. The noise of unceasing raindrops that we have heard way too much this week surround me as I sit on our porch with my laptop. Slowly, the sun is trying to peak out behind the dense clouds that just have hung for days over Wisconsin. It maybe just for a minute, but it is a minute of hope.

There is so much I can and need to share with God. And I’m confident God would like a bit more of my attention. I’ll try to make this available to God. Prayer. This is my main goal for the day. If anything else gets accomplished, it’s icing on the cake.

Lord knows, this world needs a few more prayer warriors these days. Will you join me in a day dedicated to prayer? Of taking God with us and seeing God’s loving presence with us throughout the day?

sun on porch

For the reminder to dedicate a day to prayer, I am grateful.

In this day, Lord God, I pray that I can allow my life to quiet a bit more, so I can hear your voice. Bring down the din of the world and allow me to hear your voice in my life. Forgive me for the times I rush through a day, a week, a month and I don’t embrace the opportunity to listen and simply be with you in prayer. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

2 Replies to “Gratitude Day 110 – Prayer”

  1. Dianne, I past this to Tom; I try to say a prayer with coffee every morning; even breath prayers as Pastor Carol had an article about in the Star many weeks ago. Thru out the day, I thank God for health, people who show up for work, protection from harm, etc. How can people live without faith? I’d be a basket case.

    In regard to the Grandma and Grandpa blog, I remember Grandma McIntosh’s pillow cookies; they were awesome and haven’t had the time to try and duplicate them, I do have the recipe. My Grandma Peckham would rehearse poems and scripture verses over the phone to me as she lived in West Lima and we didn’t get together too often. Her mind was fantastic, living to be 92. I also remember when we did visit there, using the outdoor toilet, now that was an experience my kids never had!!

    My Grandfather Leo Peckham, was a very dignified intelligent man whose sister was a missionary in Japan for 35+ years and had to return to the states due to the war; one of his wise statements was “some day we’ll have a room full of money and it won’t be worth anything.” That was in the 1930’s, how true is that!!

    Keep the blogs coming; it’s nice to have them on my phone and read as I begin my day. It was great to reminisce about my grandparents; I could go on and on but don’t want to bore you.

    ________________________________

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