So . . . let’s talk about the idea of prayer. That’s right, I want you to think about praying. Not so much whether or not to do it. And not so much which prayers to pray at any given time. Not even so much about the quality of your prayers. Or whether you pray out loud, silently, slowly, or as quickly as you have breath for . . . that’s all in the Up-to-You category as far as I’m concerned. Well, you and The Big Guy.
What I want to know is how you address your prayers. How you approach them. Mmm. Let’s try this: Do you go through your prayers for the same reason the chicken crossed the road? To get to the other side?
Is it something that’s in the way of other, more important things you actually have to do? That’s the way it has been for me. Sacred Scripture says it’s important – so I do want to do it. But. Well. This other – stuff – is really important. It’s the reason I finally decide to get out of bed in the morning. It’s my goal – you know, my Goal for the Day. Whether I do this stuff well, whether I complete this job, determines the kind of day I’ll have had. If I’ve finished doing this stuff, and done it well, tonight I’ll be able to slide between the sheets with a sigh of satisfaction. If I haven’t quite finished it, or if I had to rush through it . . . well, then . . . tonight when I shove myself between the sheets, it will be with a groan of frustration – it’s been a bad day. I hate bad days; I want to have as few of them as possible.
You know what I’m talking about, right? This stuff is not just on my To Do List, it is on my Must Do List. And it takes time and energy. Yeah. Thing is, prayer takes time and energy, too. So, sometimes – not all the time – but sometimes everything for the day comes down to a matter of priorities. I. Have. To do. This. Stuff! My family depends on me doing it. Praying’s important. I’ll give you that. But maybe a quick Hail Mary is OK this time. I’ll do better tomorrow. But. You know – this is Life.
Then something really weird happened to me; not spooky weird, but kinda “Oh, Gosh” weird. It was as if I suddenly understood, with my mind and my heart, just how important prayer is. I knew; I actually knew I could pray for a really long time; I don’t know, like an hour, and still be that chicken crossing the road. Just to get to the other side. At the same time – this is the weird part – I also knew; actually knew that whether I pray out loud, silently, slowly, or as quickly as I have breath for . . . that that’s not IT. IT is whether I approach prayer as something that has value in and of itself; whether it is on my Must Do List. If it’s on my List, then it is something I DO rather than something I get through. It’s something that determines the kind of day I’ll have had.
Would you think I was crazy if I told you that prayer is now the thing I like doing best? You see, it’s not in the way of my Life anymore. And it’s no longer something I skate through with the least amount of effort and time. It’s something I DO. Some days it’s a bit of a chore to get started. Then I remind myself that prayer is not a Side Hussle, it is the alpha and omega of my day. The rest of the stuff? It comes along, it gets done. Somehow, there is time and energy for that, as well.
It’s like those drawings that are really two pictures in one. Look at it one way, it’s a vase. Look at it another way, it’s a couple of faces . . .
Now that you’ve seen both pictures, you can’t ever go back to seeing just one of them. Something’s clicked in your mind, in your perception of reality, and it can’t ever be undone.
Don’t be a chicken . . . Stare at the idea of praying for awhile, listen for that click in your brain … the one where, for the very first time, you put the Kingdom of God in your day – first and last. And all that very important stuff will fill in the cracks and spaces around it, and it will all fit. For the very first time in your life.
3 Aug 2022
Ms. Catherine Lambert, OP