Monday, October 14, 2013

Prayer Time

My parents raised me and my brothers to pray for our needs, our blessings, and before each meal.  We didn't do elaborate or foo-fooey prayers, just your average short, to the point prayer.  For our dinner-time prayer, it came down to having a prayer we could remember when we were little, which meant a very short and sweet prayer.

Prayer Time, Dinner Prayer, Prayers

Maybe it's because of those short, pointed prayers early on which cause me to prefer the no-nonsense approach to prayer.  Growing up in the church, I have experienced some ministers whose prayers were so pointed that you'd hardly bowed your head and closed your eyes when they were saying "Amen" and others who delivered very flowery prayers. 

We had one minister, I'll call her Pastor Jane Doe, when I was growing up who, bless her heart, drove me nuts with her long-winded prayers.  Her prayers went something like this:  "Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this glorious morning.  Thank you for all those who were able to get up and make a safe trip to church and worship with us today.  Thank you for the trees that sway so gently in the breeze, the butterflies who float through the air, the birds who soar, the dogs who are our companions, the squirrels that jump from tree to tree and entertain us with their antics, the flowers that feed the bumble bees so they can make honey, the cats who snuggle up next to us, the grass that's so soft under our feet, for the bricks and siding that build our homes, for the window screens which keep the mosquitos out of our homes, the sun that brightens our day, the moon and stars which light up our night, the clothes that adorn our bodies, the hair color which covers our gray roots......".

By the time she got to the squirrels, I'd usually be trading eye rolls with my siblings.  I know she was reminding us all of the little things which we needed to be grateful for and that we most likely took advantage of, but a 5-10 minute prayer was just too much for my redheaded get-to-the-heart-of-the-matter self.

No, when I pray for myself, my loved ones, my friends, or strangers in need, I am very direct.  "Lord, you know what we need, please supply it.  You know what we need fixed, so please fix it.  You know what we need healed, so please heal it.".  If I'm on Facebook or writing in an email that I'm going to pray for you, you can rest assured that I'm going to pray right then for you just as I've written above. 

If you're needing me to include the squirrels, bumble bees, and the brick/siding on your home, you will need to let me know so I can be a bit more specific.  Those prayers will probably sound a bit like "Lord, please fix what they need fixed, heal what needs healing, help them where they need helping, and please give them some of my bushy-tailed tree rats that are always trying to get in my attic, the bumble bees that always chase redheads as they try to gather pollen from our heads, and give these folks some new brick/siding so their home doesn't look dilapidated.".

The other night as we sat down to dinner, our kids started acting out as kids sometimes do. My husband got quite exasperated with them but when ahead and led our dinner-time prayer.  As we all bowed our heads and closed our eyes, he prayed "Lord, please help us understand our children's behavior.  Please guide us in disciplining them and teaching them appropriate from inappropriate behavior.  Please help me figure out why they think it's ok to act this way because if I'd have acted this way growing up, my parents would have knocked me into next week.  Lord, show us if we should be doing something more because we don't want to spare the rod and spoil the child, but we obviously need help since our kids aren't acting as they've been brought up.......". 

As he droned on, I couldn't help but pop an eye open and look at him.  I looked over and both kids now had their eyes open and they were looking at me quite puzzled.  We were now a good 3+ minutes into this prayer with no sign of stopping and no sign of blessing our meal, which was now getting cold, when I realized I might have to interrupt him.

I had to think about that for a minute because it seems not only rude to interrupt a prayer but somewhat sacrilegious.  I said a quick prayer of my own for forgiveness but if we didn't get this prayer back on track we could be sitting here until breakfast.  "Ummm....... excuse me, hon?  Uh....yeah..... ummmm...... are you going to pray about our dinner?  Maybe this prayer you're doing now would be better prayed at a different time?  Just a thought.".

He bristled for a minute as he took in my question.  Then, without any warning, he burst out laughing at himself.  "I got a little side-tracked there now didn't I?  I almost sounded like Pastor Jane Doe.  I guess I probably should've thrown in something about the squirrels, bumble bees, and brick/siding.......".

by:  Christie Bielss

No comments :

Post a Comment