Originally Written for 2/8/09
Chloe is learning new words like they’re going out of style. Ever since she was old enough to eat at the table with cereal (just a couple of months) we have taught her that before we eat we hold hands, pray, and say “Amen”. For the longest time, now, she’ll give a quiet and short “men” after we say Amen, but last night that changed. Melissa was in Kinston playing a rehearsal and I was at home with Chloe. We sat down for her to have her pizza (the usual Friday night dinner), and she stuck her hands out to grab mine so we could pray. After we prayed I said, “Amen” and she said (in the slowest of motions), “Aaaammmenn” 🙂
That was nice. She still doesn’t understand what prayer is or to whom we pray, but at least she knows we do pray before we eat (and if we pray with her before she eats and then Melissa and I pray before we eat and she’s sitting there, she gets all upset that she can’t join in and sticks her hands out for us to grab!).
Which got me to thinking… How often do we pray the same way Chloe prays – we go through the motions and say a quick “amen” at the end, but our hearts, minds, and spirits just ain’t there?
We pray for a lot of things – (and I mean “we” both as us in the choir and us in general as Christians), but sometimes I know for me I’m just “going through the motions.” It’s hard to keep focused at times – we live in a busy world that has trained our minds to go a million different directions at once – and so it’s easy to get sidetracked in prayer. I know recently I’ve been using my morning commute as a prayer time, so I don’t turn on the radio or listen to music, but there are even times in the car I get distracted by what is going on around me.
One prayer I have been praying more and more, and I hope others here are praying (or will begin to pray), is “Use me to meet the needs of those around me.” See, it’s easy to pray for the sick or those going through a rough patch, but I believe one of the reasons God tells us to pray for each other is that our act of prayer focuses us on their needs and challenges us to meet them. God wants to meet the needs of the people around us, and I believe He wants to do it through us. We just need to open ourselves up to that possibility.
So when we pray at the end of rehearsal, let’s add some time for personal reflection to ask how we can help those for whom we pray and be Christ’s hands and feet.