I hate praying out loud. There. I’ve said it. Up until now, only 3 people have known my secret and I’ve been working so hard to hide it from everyone else.
Here’s the thing-when did prayers become so linear, so formulaic, so clear?
They start out like this: Greeting (“Dear Father”), List of Platitudes (“We know you are so great and good”), List of Thanks (“Thank you that we can come to you like this”), Request (“We ask you for such and such”), Backpedaling (“But we know you will handle this in your time, when you think it is good”), Repeat Platitudes (“Thank you again for all you do for us), Closing (“In your name…Amen). You get the gist.
Those are not my prayers. Mine go something like this:
Dear God, You know why I am praying (Oh, wait, I haven’t talked to you for a while, I should probably work on our relationship, so you know I’m not only talking to you for requests). OK, let me catch you up on my life so we feel connected. (Are you listening, God?) First off, I love being married. Thank you for Ethan. He is so nice and sweet. (Excuse me, while I break to text him to remind him about dinner) OK, back to prayer, yes…Ethan…that reminds me of our goal to cook regularly and I need to update my grocery list. (Break while I write list on whatever paper available) OK, I’m back. Thank you for all the good things in my life right now. (Will this happiness last?? What roadblocks should I be expecting in the next year? I wish there was a way that I could plan in advance for my delegation of life problems so I can plan ahead. Statistically, I feel I can get an idea, but I wish I could be more prepared because there are some things I would really just like to skip. Oh no…will I get cancer?? I know I should be better about wearing sunscreen!) God, what is cancer like? Is it really like the movies? Will it be a slow fade or dramatic stage four discovery? (I bet my sister will shave her head in support) God, please be with all people who have cancer. (I’m so glad I didn’t go into hospice social work. I couldn’t do it).
OK, God, I have to wrap up soon because I have to run errands. (break to check directions online) (break, again, to text friend to review plans) Anyway, thank you for all you do for me. (But did you really bless me or am I just a product of my upbringing and environment?) This makes me think of that one time… (long, reflective story) Ok, really have to go now. I’ll talk to you later, God.
And this is why I don’t like to pray out loud.