Inspiration · Spiritual

Living On a Prayer

Yet another blog from the past in my drafts folder, cleaned and spiffed up for you this happy Tuesday. (For the record, Heidi is no less bossy now than she was at three years old….)

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Heidi can be kiiiiiind of bossy. I’m not sure if this is a character flaw or a three-year-old phase. But it can be frustrating to constantly ask her to be a bit nicer, a bit sweeter, and bit not bratty.

She’ll ask you to play with her. But when you do, it’s, “No, not THAT WAY,” or “No, my doll doesn’t do that, she does this!” or “No, don’t sit there, sit here!” It’s all I can do not to scream, “You asked me to play with you and that is what I am doing, ok???”

When she wants me to help her get ready, she won’t want to wear anything I pick out. If I picked out a dress, she wants pants. If I pick out pants, she wants a dress. If I pick out comfy pants, she wants nice jeans. If I pick out nice jeans, she wants comfy pants. AND SO ON AND SO FORTH.

When she wants me to pick out her snack, she’ll nearly always hate what I pick. I go through all the options, all to which she replies, “no,” until I want to throw a pie in her face.

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Come as you are, God says. Heidi’s got that down pat.

Or my biggest pet peeve…grabbing the coloring book from me because she wants to finish my page. The picture I’m working so hard on to look nice and neat and pretty. The one thing I can control in my life…a coloring page of Elmo feeding some ducks…and she ruins that too. It’s enough to make me want to stomp my feet and throw all her crayons on the floor.

Right. Not sure what that says about me. Maybe I’m the one with anger issues??? Anyways. Moving on.

I find that as a whole, we sometimes even do this to each other. We are good at telling each other how to be or how to do things the right way. We like to tell each other how to parent, how our marriages should be, how we can be happier/smarter/sexier/more successful/more of whatever we are in general.

We like to tell each other how to be and how what we already are isn’t good enough.

Sometimes I fall for it. Lately I have found that I have fallen for it in the area of prayer. Throughout my lifetime going to church, I have heard a number of sermons and read a number of books that have informed me how to pray. You’d think it would be simple. Look up and talk to God. But apparently, there’s a special way to do it.

Don’t ask too much. Start with praise. End with promises. Make sure you include gratitude. Quote scripture so you know you’re praying correctly and asking for the right things. Make sure it’s quiet. Make sure your eyes are closed. Make sure your heart is in the right place. Don’t beg.

These are all wonderful things. And yes, Jesus did give us a sample of how to pray when He gave us the “Our Father, who art in heaven” prayer. And sometimes an “Our Father…” is all I can manage….the shorthand usually sounding something more like, “Help!” Sometimes it’s even just, “GAH!”

I have always had an insatiable desire to do things the right way. I am growing out of it (and too late for a rebel streak, unfortunately…NOT FAIR). Now I just want to do things the real way.

There have actually been times I’ve started a genuine prayer to God and stopped myself in order to go through the bullet points someone else said needed to be in my prayer if I expect God to listen and respond. I wonder what God thinks of this. I wonder if He is waiting and listening and just wanting us to be real. I wonder if He loves the individual way we each come to Him….in a quiet chapel, running on a dirt trail, sitting in rush hour traffic, snuggling a sick baby at 1 a.m., interceding for our friends before we go to sleep at night, sitting afraid and alone in a hospital room, biting back tears as we work yet another back to back shift to provide for our families…or perhaps wishing we had our own family to provide for.

I know that my parents have no requirements when I call them to ask for help. They want me to just tell them what I need so they can help me if possible. And  I don’t expect Heidi to tell me how awesome I am before she asks for help (though let’s be honest, I would not complain if she did).girl praying

“Mom…you’re beautiful and amazing and I appreciate all the sacrifices you make for us. Will you please wipe my butt now?”

See? A tad strange.

Granted, I’m not God, and maybe God does expect certain things in every prayer. He is much more worthy of praise and much wiser than myself. But I imagine that in allowing us to be parents, and in filling that role Himself in order to relate with us, we can in some form or fashion understand His desire to love us fully, regardless of how perfect or imperfect we are. In some small way, I can understand that He is more pleased by the fact we come to Him than He is by our fancy words and outlines.

Nothing pleases me more than when my kids reach for me with open arms. I don’t care if they have a dirty diaper. I don’t care if they have spaghetti sauce all over their face. I don’t care if they just shoved another kid (although we will have a discussion about that). And most times I don’t even care if they’re crying, though it gets old some days. But even so, I’d never turn them away. Tears for old or new reasons are welcome on this shoulder, and I have to believe God feels the same in some way.

He wants us to just come to Him. I think it’s about the state of our hearts. Our head bowed automatically places Him in a place of praise. Our hands folded automatically expresses He is in control. Our tears automatically show we give up, we surrender, we want Him to intervene and show us His way. Our speechlessness automatically trusts He hears what we can’t say. Our eyes and hearts on Him show we already hold Him above all others, and we seek Him for help…for peace…or in simple acknowledgement that He is good.

And He says come! Just come, as you are. What a good and simple reminder.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”   -Hebrews 4:14-16

Also, I couldn’t help myself…..

keep-calm-and-keep-livin-on-a-prayer

one does not simply

You’re welcome.

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One thought on “Living On a Prayer

  1. Jamie,
    Another great post, very inspirational too. Prayer, reading the “how to” portion was such a reflection of me, my “how best to do this” and I always start by, “My dear GOD thank you…”.
    I look forward to your posts.
    I will be in Fort Wayne 5/14-5/19 for the Relay For Life with Xanders Fight Club, will you and the Family be there? Would love to see you.
    Sincerely,
    Debra Fisher-Ricks (Amanda Linderwells Mom)

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