Thursday, May 17, 2012

Let My Prayer Be Counted

O Lord, I call upon you; hasten to me!  Give ear to my voice when I call to you!  Let my prayer by counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!"  
Psalm 141: 1-2
CONFESSION:  I’m bad at prayer out loud. 
Especially with people who might be uncomfortable with it. 
I know!  Everyone is gasping!

But seriously.  It’s pathetic.  I didn’t have great role models for public prayer growing up.  And I’m terrible at praying with my kids. 

At some point I forced myself to start implementing prayer on the way to school.  And that was good.  In fact, some mornings it was downright holy.  Actually, I’m sure the implementation of it had little to do with me and everything to do with GOD. 
Then we moved and my daughter started riding the bus and I didn’t replace that time.  It’s hard to sit down and pray with a scowling 8 year old at 6:30 a.m.  (She’s not a morning person and neither is her mom.)

But here’s the really shocking part:  I’m not even enforcing it at bedtime.  (Is “enforcing” the right word in the context of prayer?)  I know.  I’m kindof afraid I’m going to be kicked off the Altar Guild for this.  But I’m trying to be honest.  Because I suspect I’m not the only one out there who struggles with it.
I’m not sure when it stopped with my oldest.  At one point it was part of the routine.  She is very uncomfortable praying together when it is not scripted and instead of trying to fix this, I’ve gotten into the habit of ignoring it. 

Meanwhile, I’ve been convicted on multiple counts of PRIDE.  Not enough kneeling.  Not enough humility.  Not enough pause-and-listen.

So tonight as I was heading up to tuck-in my girls, I heard the Holy Spirit tugging –
     “Prayer would be good.”

     “But how do I do that with her? I don’t need one more reason for us to fight.  I feel like she’s constantly at odds with me.  I need a book to tell me how to do this!  I need some direction.  I need some advice!  I can’t do this out of the blue!”  I argued.

     “Seriously?”  The Holy Spirit responded.  “You don’t think I’m enough in this moment?”

So I walked in, cold-turkey.  I dove in, without testing out the water first.  I threw caution to the wind.  No plan.  Not like me. 

I just started praying silently, “Lord, you have to take control of this situation.” 

And of course, it was great.  Turns out the Holy Spirit DOES know what it’s doing. 

“We need to talk,” I started… “We need to work on something… I’ve been struggling with pride… You need to learn some humility before the Lord… You’ll find it awkward at first (she loves to use that word), but it’s something we have to do… Which side of the bed do you want?”
We knelt.  And it was a little awkward.  But she wasn’t resentful.  Just as little silly because she was nervous.  And I told her tonight we’d just start with being thankful.  Come up with 3 things.  And I’ll start.

And I did.  And she did.

Then she giggled and jumped back into bed.  Pretty painless.  Pretty great. 
Thank you, God.  Looking forward to tomorrow night.  Amen.

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