They may be out there, but I haven’t met them yet—the ones who can honestly say, “Oh yes, my prayer life couldn’t be better!”
Instead, most everybody I know, including me, admits our praying could use more cultivating.
So when I left Outdoor Church again Saturday without having prayed with my friend Brea, I knew my prayer practice still needed more, well . . . practice. After all, wasn’t it just a month ago that I did the exact same thing?
Last month Brea was worried about her ex-husband (she has a big heart, my friend Brea). She said he wasn’t doing well financially or physically and she was concerned. I told her I’d be praying.
This month she told me the doctor found spots on her lung. She has an appointment Thursday. I asked her if she was scared. She said she doesn’t want to know what it is. But, she also said, it is what it is, and regardless, God is still wonderful.
Again, I said I’d be praying.
And I have been praying for her. Privately. That’s fine; God hears. It’s good.
But what I wanted to do, what I meant to do—and what I’d been convicted to do—was pray for her with her.
- After the sermon, I’ll do it.
- No? Then before lunch is served, I’ll do it.
- But now . . . I’m back home again. And I never did it.
I don’t even know why.
She wouldn’t have thought me weird, I know that. And I don’t mind praying aloud with others; I find it a joy.
So why do I hesitate to initiate? Am I waiting for someone to grant me permission to speak? To talk to God out loud only when asked?
I know it’s irrational. God made this clear to me long ago—we have his permission to pray aloud.
Granted, let’s still ask permission from others before we launch into prayer over them.
But we don’t have to ask permission from God. He approves.
Prayer doesn’t have to be only between God and me. It can also be between God and me—and you.
I think he’s quite happy when we pull him more directly into our conversations anywhere, anytime.
I can’t regain the opportunity I lost last Saturday to pray together with Brea for her peace about Thursday. I’ll have to just keep praying for her by myself.
And keep praying for myself, that next time, I won’t wait for her to ask me to pray; I’ll ask her instead if I can. I’ve got a feeling she’ll say, “Of course!” And that God will say, “Good!”
* * *
November is my month for The Practice of Being Present to God (i.e., prayer). I hope to practice initiating prayer more with others.
How often do you ask others on the spot if you can pray together?
In what ways would you like to improve your practice of prayer?
- 5 tips for praying with your spouse or friend
- ‘Draw the Circle’ – The 40 day prayer challenge
- Why we pray, “Lord, have mercy”
Spiritual disciplines this year from An Altar in the World:
- October 2013: The practice of feeling our pain
- September 2013: The practice of purpose
- August 2013: The practice of encounter
- July 2013: The practice of the wilderness
- June 2013: The practice of walking on earth
- May 2013: The practice of physical labor
- April 2013: The practice of saying no
- March 2013: The practice of wearing skin
- February 2013: The practice of slowing down
- January 2013: The practice of waking up to God
- Songs of the Church
- What’s up in November