“I need to make more time in my life to pray,” she told me, shaking her head.
She had just shared something intimate with me, a dream that had been on her heart for a long time, one she hoped would someday become a reality. And now she had that look on her face —
Like she had done something wrong, and deserved whatever was coming to her.
She must have picturing herself kneeling at her bedside, until her knees were sore she’d been there so long. Or with her nose pressed to the floor, begging and desperate, or inviting a group of women to her home to pray through the night. Her expression was so pained.
She must have been willing those acts into existence.
“If this was something I really wanted,” she told me, “I would pray harder.”
Why don’t I make more time to pray?
But instead of giving her advice about how, if she spent less time on Facebook, or watched less TV, or would just be more disciplined, she would find more time to pray, I did something different.
I asked, “What do you like to do?”
Then, I listened while she gave me the list.
Coffee. Hang out with friends. Christmas movies. Play tennis. I watched her smile come back, and she looked like herself again.
“Guess what?” I asked her, as she finished giggling. “We just prayed.”
She looked at me, shocked.
Sometimes prayer is a solitary activity, one separate from all the noise and action of our lives. Sometimes we have to go away, unplug, turn off our minds and our electronics, and just tune in.
Sometimes we have to press our knees into carpet, or press our noses against hardwoods and let our tears flow, not because this is how prayer works, but because we can’t help it.
Sometimes we stay up all night praying together, not because God won’t listen to us if we don’t, but because we can’t sleep.
We just need to pray.
But prayer is also woven and stitched into the daily activity of our lives.
I pray while I’m driving. Sometimes I don’t really say anything, and God doesn’t say much back, but I just know that He’s there, sitting with me, and that’s enough.
Other times it’s when I’m listening to music.
God speaks to me through all kinds of bands, Christian and otherwise.
He speaks to me when I read my Bible, and when I read other books. He reveals to me things I should change about my life, conversations I should have with people, and things for which I should apologize.
When my husband and I talk to each other kindly, we’re praying.
Our heads don’t have to be bowed, and we don’t have to say “Amen.” God is there when we reign our hearts into the same small space.
The other day I prayed on the treadmill. I was at the gym, watching The View, and God spoke to me. He gave me wisdom to see myself in a way I never had. I’m not saying it had anything to do with the treadmill, or the TV show in particular.
I’m just saying it happened.
God is everywhere.
When I gave up on the idea that God only shows up when I’m acting “spiritual,” I started to see him while I was drinking a glass of wine, or taking yoga class or running a marathon. God can meet us in a taco shop. And when I realized that —
My hunger to know him and hear him actually grew.
No one had to tell me to turn off Facebook.
I couldn’t help it. I didn’t want Facebook. I wanted Jesus.
No one had to suggest I start a prayer group, my whole life became a prayer group. I started praying in grocery stores, and car seats, and over Skype calls with people I barely knew.
I couldn’t get enough of it.
I didn’t have to make time for prayer. My whole life became prayerful. I just had to relax into it.
Has that happened for you? Will you tell me about it?