Sunday, April 10, 2011

Forgetting How To Pray

I don't remember when I didn't know how to pray.

"Now I lay me down to sleep. . ."

"God is great, God is good. . ."

And the big one, the prayer that kept hell from licking at my toes and allowed me to sleep at night without fear –

"Dear Jesus, Forgive me of my sins. Take the black and ugly out of my heart and save me. I want to go to heaven and not that other place. Just in case you forgot . . A-men."

But suddenly, forty years or so later, prayer isn't quite so easy. I have questions that cloud up the air and make a foggy divide between me and Him. Like somehow God must be frightened away by my doubts and my long silences.

Tentative, I try again.

Holy One, Do you understand the groanings of this heart? This heart that wants to want You again? Are You there to rescue me even when this fool doesn't really think she needs to be rescued?

I don't need a rainbow set in the sky or a lame man to walk again. I just need You to cover me in peace and whisper in my ear, "You're still mine."

But He doesn't answer. At least not like I hoped He would.

And then I remember.

He answers like this. . .

:: a 70 degree day when it snowed just last week

:: the tiny buds on the lilac tree just outside my living room window that will soon perfume us with the scent of purple

:: a kiss and a smile from my love who says, "How did we get so lucky?"

:: the radio turned up loud with my favorite song

And I begin to remember and understand that while I asked God for a whisper, God shouted love. And I remember that I spend far too much time worrying about the right words instead of remembering how to listen with anything more than my ears.

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