Thursday, April 12, 2007

Strawberry Jam

Lately I've been praying a little more, which is by no means bragging. I'm talking about praying once a day instead of once a week. I really suck at prayer, which is sad because my theology makes prayer insanely important. Regardless, this has led to a few thoughts on prayer that I will now share.

1. It is hard to pray when you're really into theology. I find myself all the time when I'm praying thinking things like, "wait, I just prayed for something that I don't believe God would do" or things like that. Half the time I find myself analyzing anything I am going to say to make sure it lines up with what I believe about God. I think this is something I am going to try to stop doing. I don't want to pray in ignorance, but I also want my praying to be more natural. This leads to the next thought.

2. I have been taking Lydia to the people who take care of her during the day (our pals Angie and Chris, Big Up Yourselves). I hear it's good to talk to babies, so I often carry on conversations with Lydia in the car. I realized the other day that the feeling I have while I am talking to Lydia is the same as when I am talking to God...namely that I am carrying on a conversation with myself because I am talking to a being that can't respond to me. Let me be clear, I DO NOT believe that this is how it actually is with God. Instead, this is how it feels. These are the only two relationships in my life where I do not hear any audible response from the person I am talking to. I think that's why prayer is so hard for me. I'm not very ethereal.

3. A few weeks ago we were praying (Erika, Lydia and I) and many times I feel like I systematically think through what I need to thank God for and what I need to ask Him for and all that (the asking part is about other people, I'm not sure how I feel about praying for ourselves, at least about certain things, see number 1) and then I wrap it up and call it a night. Erika was praying and at the time she was feeling overwhelmed by life and feeling some ground-level aspects of depression. As she was asking God for help with this she started weeping. Then I started crying because I thought, here is God's daughter crying desperately before Him for comfort while I emotionlessly go through my list of stuff to talk to God about. I want to be more like Erika, laying bare my heart and soul before the God who loves me more than I know. I had this amazing image of God telling Erika that his heart was broken for her.

Those are my thoughts. Read it and weep.


David said...

I hear ya on all those comments. Prayer seems to be a difficult thing for me to remain consistent doing. I did a learning contract on it here at seminary, but have slacked off since then (by the way, i also did a learning contract on working out which has been thrown to the wayside). Honestly, i think that a lot of what keeps me from praying as intently as I should is fear. I fear the response of God to my continual sin and I think that deep down inside I worry that God will just conclude that enough is enough. I know that theologically this doesn't make sense, but I think I equate my own judgment of myself with what God's should be. Thanks for sharing Ryan. May we all learn to honestly cry, laugh, joke, and engage deeply in prayer.

Jeremiah Dickson said...

I think that one of my greatest fear is that what I'm feeling or going through is isolated to myself or that no one has experienced what I'm going through.
I just wanted to say that you are not alone and that in my own insufficient prayer life I will be bringing you before the throne of grace.