Posts tagged “Prayer

We Can’t Handle This Much Jesus

One of the creepier pieces of the puzzle beneath the headaches I don’t really have is a eyelid that doesn’t really close.

At least not all the way.

Well, at least that’s what my eye doctor says.

It’s handy at mealtime, where only a fool would pray with both eyes closed at my dinner table. When we say table grace, I keep that one creepy eye fixed on the spread. Because if I don’t watch the bowl to my right, I’m going to wind up on the short end of the mashed potato stick.

Meaning: I’m not so attentive during that prayer as I’d like to think.

In fact, I might be known to say Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest, with more than a little indifference.

I don’t always expect Him to show.

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More Than You Wanted to Know

I think, sometimes, we create elaborate fantasies about what other people’s interactions with God look like, or how we think ours should. Like the Choir of St. John plays in the background and incense explodes out of some people’s Bibles when they open them.

It’s not like that. Not at my house.

For one thing, I’m not allowed to do incense. I’d burn the place down.

And that choir sings, but only during work hours when I ask Pandora to pipe it into my office, where I work alone. And only when I haven’t replaced it with a curious mix of The Glorious Unseen, Leland and Brooke Fraser. And only after the boys have left the house. They already wonder about me.

Sometimes, I believe the myth myself — thinking that those transcendent times when soul, body and spirit all come together and meet him in a way that leaves me both more dead and more alive than I’ve ever been in the same moment are the norm, rather than the scattered and elusive rare jewel.

Case in point: yesterday. At the risk of appearing insufficiently reverent, let me tell you how my morning with the Father went yesterday. It was more the norm than the rare jewel. And it may just be more than you ever wanted to know.

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Efficiencies

I dug for my phone under the army green flap of my back pocket. Shaking in the cold, my thumb skipped across the screen and missed the Answer button the first time.

Lyla! Are you walking in the ditch?

Knee-deep in sharp brown grass anxious to poke out of South Dakota snow, I looked up at the blacktop above me and had no answer but a sheepish “Umm. Yes.” 

A former colleague had driven past moments before on that same asphalt ribbon and spotted me there in the rearview mirror. She wanted to make sure all was well. “Why are you walking in the ditch?” she asked.

Again, I had only one answer: Roadside therapy.

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Deep Bone Rest

I asked Jesus to scootch up really close to her bed. 

There wasn’t much else I knew to do.

While a friend hours away pushed back against a sometimes debilitating disease from a hospital bed, I reminded myself that tapping at His window isn’t just a matter of helpless hand-wringing. Asking Him to do it was a better thing than scootching up to her bed myself.

No matter how I would have liked to do that.

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Leaning in the Direction of God

My kids are back home. We start the home stretch toward school again. The days spill over from life, and that’s a good thing, except when it’s a hard thing, and maybe that’s even a good thing too.

I’m staring down a long week ahead crammed into a short week’s time and likely some heartburn on the other end that I’d rather not think about at all.

All that to say, the stuff of the coming week should give ample opportunity to do what Paul Miller would call “leaning in the direction of God,” adopting that somewhat tilted posture of continuous praying because I don’t know what else to do.*

Like this:

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
(Philippians 4:6-7, The Message)

Thanks for hanging here with me, even when I seem not terribly present. You encourage me more than I probably ever let on.

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Photo by Horton Group
*A Praying Life, by Paul A. Miller