Disclaimer: I am not a super-spiritual person … ask any family member or anyone who knows me. But on occasion, I try to improve some aspect of my life. It occurred to me a few weeks ago that I could use my a.m. commute for something better than listening to morning DJ’s or the same songs I’ve heard hundreds of times.
That morning commute is 20 minutes of potential solitude, more if there’s an accident, inclement weather or construction. Why not use that time to talk to God?
I was ready. I had a long list of requests ready for God … a veritable heavenly honey-do list. There were any number of problems to be solved, ranging from financial to mechanical. There were also people who needed an attitude adjustment, I wasn’t having much success fixing them, but they seemed ripe for a God intervention.
Lest you think I’m totally selfish, I also offered up problems that my family, friends and co-workers needed help with, it was a very extensive list.
Of course God is not a cosmic vending machine, where you insert a few prayers and a solution dispensed into the tray at the bottom.
Public Service Announcement: Opening up you wallet to TV preachers does not improve your odds of getting prayers answered.
I soon tired of presenting my list of requests, it was becoming an obviously one-sided conversation. I remembered hearing or reading someones theory about the Lord’s Prayer, comparing it to a sandwich, with praise at the beginning, followed by requests (the meat), then topped with more praise. I guess that’s one interpretation, but it seemed like a weak attempt at bribery, with me on one end, offering up some praises, then slipping in a request, then jumping back to praises before the creator of the universe noticed what I had done. I wasn’t comfortable with that.
Perhaps my whole premise was wrong, maybe praying wasn’t about getting things fixed, solved or corrected.
Prayer is a conversation. Conversations at their core are about communication. Communication at its core is about understanding. If God is who I think he is, he already knows all there is to know about me. That just leaves me needing to understand more about God. For this guy who couldn’t tell you what he had for lunch two days ago, that’s a little daunting.
I started to change my approach to those morning conversations. At this moment I don’t have any serious problems and I am thankful for that, but I have friends and family who do. Rather than just ask God to fix all their problems, my morning conversations are more like this, “God, so-and-so, is dealing with some really tough things, I know you have the power to fix all that, but from experience, that’s not how you operate. But a little peace would do them a world of good, maybe just a little reminder that you understand what they are going through, let them know you haven’t forgotten about them and if I can help, please give me a little nudge.”
Of course, I could be totally wrong about my prayer theories. I’m not a super-spiritual guy, I know this because some mornings I mostly talk to God about the weather.