Pray…the very word can make hackles rise on the neck for some. It can be just flipped off the tongue and then forgotten. That’s not how I want to pray in 2012. I want to be prayer, not mouth the words.
Were you “taught” to pray, or rather how to pray? Have you rejected that formula? Do you feel silly riffing through some long wishlist, to some unknown “person” sitting somewhere just above the clouds? Maybe you don’t…and if so that’s cool. But for many of us the very word prayer feels a little too sticky with hocus pocus, words rhymed off without even thinking.
Come to think of it, that can be a good thing, having memorized words that bring you comfort when you can’t even think of stringing words together on your own. I do that. I do the formulaic stuff too. Sometimes. But not because I have to. Sometimes I just want to, more to the point, sometimes I just need to sit quietly and one of those old memories takes hold and says itself for me or through me.
We all have yearnings…mostly we don’t speak them aloud. We don’t share them. Is it fear? Is it self doubt? Are we feeling hopeless? Maybe all of these reasons keep us from allowing us to pray. Does it feel a little greedy, a little grubby to yearn? Could this possibly be a prayer? Or does prayer have to fit into a dogmatic box? Does it have to comply with certain rules and regulations? Does it need an imprimatur of officialdom to be real? Is prayer that whispers from down deep inside good? I struggled with these questions all through 2011. I journaled faithfully, deeply, and often. The answers I got surprised me. Was it sacrilegious to trust my own calling; my own prayer? I didn’t get a lot of affirmation from Church…though there were wonderful supportive people there. I felt like I was floundering in a huge ocean…and all of what I had been taught, trained for and struggled with began to shake my foundations.
Now, I think of prayer differently. I think of prayer as having hands and feet. In other words my prayer is for strength and wisdom to be a bridge builder, a community builder, a helper, a strong woman…and so much more. I try to do it on my feet, or while serving soup, or making bread, knitting mitts or toques to keep people warm.
To me that kind of prayer is waaaay harder. It’s not nagging. It’s not sloughing off the job on another. It’s the way I pray. And I want to do more of that in 2012. Intention One…and done.