Praying Without (mostly, sometimes, rarely) Ceasing.
I asked Coulter. He said no thanks. He’s kind of at that age.
Emma Claire chimes in. I’ll do it!
And she begins.
“God, we just love you. And we thank you for Jesus and thank you for Elena and Miss Jenny and thank you that we get to play and thank you for Mammaw and help her not to die because we know she’s probably going to die pretty soon because she is old and old people die but help her not to die and thank you for Jesus and most of all God, thank you for loving us and help us to love you more everyday.”
She pauses. Coulter see’s his opening. and he’s smart enough to take it.
And she looks up. Sullen and offended. I was. not. finished.
But Coulter knew a good ending when he heard one and to be honest I’ve never heard a better one.
Most of all.
Thank you for loving us and help us to love you more everyday.
I’d like to say she learned it from me, but I kind of have a feeling that it’s the snack-prayer at preschool.
My family is a praying family. And I try hard to move beyond memorization and go deeper and be grateful and I want my children to know, more than they know letters and numbers and reading and writing; more than that I want them to know—
Can talk to God.
How many friends do you have that you’ve never talked to?
Talking to God is how we build relationship.
And I used to be super good at it. I pretty much had the whole praying without ceasing thing down. I prayed in my car and I prayed on my runs and once I even prayed while simultaneously (is that the right word?) singing the National Anthem.
Because singing the National Anthem is scary. Especially if you’ve ever forgotten the words in front of a very unforgiving college crowd. And that, of course, is just a totally random example.
One of my favorite Authors, Anne Lammott (I think I have a thing for writers names Ann) has two basic prayers.
Help me. Help me. Help me.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
What I’ve learned from Anne with an E is that sometimes that’s all you need.
What I’ve learned from Ann, plain jane and without an E, is that the thank you should always come first.
Because thank you always precedes the miracle.
And this morning I felt like I needed a miracle. I woke up with this headache.
And I mean like it hurt.
A lot. A lot.
And I don’t get headaches. And I cursed myself for bragging just the day before about how I never get sick and I’ve been cuddling a sick child for 4 days and cheek to cheek and nose to nose and dangit.
I. Am. Sick.
But I can’t be sick. I won’t be sick. I do not have time.
To be sick.
So I take two Bayer back and body (highly recommend) and two Advil. I take a high-potentcy vitamin D along with a glass of orange juice. I topped that off with two flintstone vitamins and ice-cold diet coke.
And then I asked Coulter to pray with me.
Again. At that age.
“Uhm, no thanks, Mom.”
“OK.” I said, “but you know the Bible says that whenever there are 2 or 3 gathered in His name that He will do what you ask.”
And there are several things wrong with that sentence. First, I took it out of context, second, as I try to find the reference, He actually says in the midst of them so I didn’t even quote it right and third, I totally just used scripture in a guilt-trip kind of way.
But did I mention that my head really, really hurt?
“OK. God, please help my mom’s head feel better.”
I want Coulter to know that we can go to God with anything. That with people dying and starving and hungry and lost; with war and poverty and yes, with all of this and so much more, I want my children to know that God cares about my headache.
He is huge and awesome and mighty but He is personal and loving and cares about my head. And all the hairs up on it.
So, in an effort to get back to those days where praying was as easy as breathing, I’ve set up 4 alarms on my phone. Just simple little breaks in the day to bring me back to Him and breathe a prayer of thanksgiving and today was my first day. I was teaching body pump. I was half way through the squat track when above the music, above the mic, I hear the strangest sound.
And then I remember.
Sorry, y’all! I tell my class.
That’s just my phone reminding me to pray.
And they probably think I’m Muslim.
But I’m not. I’m just a mom. Who loves her kids. Who loves Jesus and is trying to remember the prayer of a 4-year-old.
Yes, Lord. Most of all. Thank you for loving me and help me to love you more everyday.
(Go back! Listen! It will bless you!!!) 🙂