Prayer Superstar, not me.

November 24, 2012 under Unlikely Christian
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Prayer Superstars…..Yeah I’m not one of those.

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You know the type – Their prayers are elegant, flowing things of beauty.  They sound so polished, they say just the right words, throw in just the right scripture, and cover all 172 prayer requests like they have a teleprompter in their brain.  Prayer superstars leave me feeling so prayer inadequate, because I, am certainly no prayer superstar.  I really want to be, but instead of superstar mode, my brain goes etch-a-sketch mode.  I start out with a good intro, you know, I’m drawing some stairs, but then my etch-a-sketch brain gets shaken so there’s nothing but a blank slate, yet I continue to talk.  And in the end my prayer turns out about as good as a 3 year old’s circle on an etch-a-sketch.  

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Seriously, I’m not the best when it comes to public prayer.  I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I once ended a public prayer with, “……aaaaand……yeah……that’s about it…..Amen.”  That is a true story my friends.  So truth be told, I’m not always quick to jump in when it comes to public prayer.  I’ll do it, but if somebody else can handle it, let’s roll with them, because chances are it will turn out better. 

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Yeah, I know, my last post was all about the importance of spontaneously praying with somebody, and now I’m talking about how hard public prayer can be – Just keeping it real here folks.  That being said, I will still spontaneously pray for you.  #RingingEndorsement

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Now before you start looking elsewhere for prayer, let me just say that there have been times where I’ve knocked some prayers out of the park, so much so, that even I was surprised, but just be forewarned, my prayers, “are like a box of chocolates…..”  I so hope you finished that sentence in a Forest Gump voice.

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So…..why am I talking about prayer today?

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Well, it’s like this.

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Yesterday was Thanksgiving, so I spent a little time thinking about the things I was thankful for, and then for some reason I started thinking about the Thanksgiving Blessing.  I thought about what I might say, about how it might sound, about what I could add in there that might be helpful for others, about the impact a good prayer can have, and then I thought yeah, I totally need to do this. 

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The more I thought about it though, the more ‘box of chocolate’ scenarios started playing out in my mind.  So I spent a little more time being thankful.  Thankful that Thanksgiving wasn’t going to be at my house this year, and since the Thanksgiving Blessing usually defaults to a homeowner, I knew my father-in-law would handle it.  I was in the clear.  Worst case scenario, I’m in the Speaker of the House position in that prayer chain of command, so no need for prayer anxiety.

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Whew…..

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The End.

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Yeah…..not so much.

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Because when we sat down to eat, nobody immediately grabbed the prayer reins.

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Uh-oh. 

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Now I’m not afraid of an uncomfortable silence.  I’ve often said, and proven on many occasions, that I can out wait anybody in that category, so I waited.

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Mother-in-law looks at father-in-law, who then defers back to her.

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Uh-oh.

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Mother-in-law doesn’t immediately start praying.

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Uh-oh.

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Out of the corner of my eye, I see my wife looking at me.  (Don’t meet her eyes Bill, don’t acknowledge her look, don’t do it).

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More silence…..

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Mother-in-law asks if I’d like to say the blessing.

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…..umm…..Sure…..

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“Life is like a box of chocolates.”

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How’d it go? 

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Well when I finished, my daughter started ribbing me, referencing the prayer scene from “Meet the Parents.”  So yeah…..   

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Dang it…..

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Thankfully I had the day off today so I could spend some time over-analyzing it, because that’s what I do, and I came to a couple conclusions. 

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#1 – When I pray in public, I want to be a prayer superstar.  I’ve been getting too caught up in the presentation.  I want so badly to do a good job, to say the right words for maximum effect for all ears listening, especially if there are people far from God present, that I forget to talk to God.  So in essence, I’m not really praying, I’m just talking.  I used to wonder why the Holy Spirit wouldn’t come to my aid in these situations, now I know it’s because I wasn’t really praying.

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#2 – I need to practice.  I’m never going to get better at praying in public, if I tend to avoid it.  That should be easier if I can get past #1 and just talk to God.  

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So basically, I need to practice just talking to God and not worry about anything else.

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That there’s a good prescription.  Anybody else need to fill their’s after yesterday?

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And now for your viewing pleasure, here’s the “Meet the Parents” prayer scene.

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One Response to "Prayer Superstar, not me."

  • How does everyone else seem to have the words come so easily? I stumble, I stutter. There are people who just have that I gift I guess…you and I not being one of those people. Perhaps God gave us the means to speak only through our fingers 🙂

    I’m reading Anne Lamott’s new book “Help, Thanks, Wow!”, a book about prayer. And she makes me feel so not alone (or weird or failed) by those small prayers that often are the most powerful because they come from a place of desperation or awe.

    And as for those public prayers. I can’t imagine ever having enough practice to make those come easy. My stomach is in knots just thinking about it!!

    Hey, so I’m a fellow living second blogger! Come by sometimes for a visit!