Does anyone else sound like this when they pray?
God, I lift up my friend Tammy to You. She is carrying such a weight right now. Please fill her with Your strength to handle all the details that are coming her way. It’s hard to sell a house, but even harder when you’re still emotionally attached to it. I wonder if I would feel the same way if I sold my house. The evidence of my kids growing up here are everywhere. I really should get that hole in the wall fixed, though. How do I do that? Do I cover it with wide tape, like duct tape, and then paint over it? Hmmm…. the new paint won’t match the rest, so I’ll need to paint the whole wall. Should I keep to the same color or change it to another? I wonder… oh, right, I was praying.
God, sorry for getting distracted. Like I was saying, please strengthen Tammy and give her the wisdom to make the best choices. I also lift up my daughter, Erica. She hasn’t been feeling well lately. Heal her quickly, Lord, and strengthen her to be able to handle her job and family responsibilities. Her husband may understand her lack of energy, but her baby will not. Mikey needs his mother, and when she’s too tired to spend that time with him, he cries. It hurts my heart to think of him crying. Bob is a good father, but not a replacement for mommy. I wonder why some kids gravitate towards one parent over the other. Erica was a momma’s girl when she was little, but ever since he was a baby, Steve preferred Matt. He still prefers his dad over me. That hurts, like I’m being rejected even though I know he loves me. What did Matt feel when Erica clung to me instead of to him? I never thought of looking at it from his perspective…
God, I did it again. I’m so sorry. This time I will stay focused. School is starting soon. Please be with the teachers and students as they return to the classroom. Keep them safe as they start another year. There are so many dangers nowadays that I never had to face when I was teaching. It must be stressful to be in a place where the chance of getting the Covid virus is high. Or where a shooter might show up at any time. I wonder what I would have done if a shooter had entered my school when I was teaching. How would I have protected my kindergarten students? The bathroom could hold maybe half of them, if they squeezed in tight enough, but would they be able to stay quiet? Maybe the rest of them could hide inside the cabinets. I’d have to remove the stuff in them first, but they’re big enough for the kids to fit in them. There were 2, 3, 4, 5 cabinets on the back wall. That would work for five students, but then there’d still be…
Please forgive me. I can’t stay focused. I can never stay focused. I don’t know how You put up with this. I would be so annoyed if someone kept doing this to me. Please have mercy on me and help me to do better. I’m good at some things, like giving to the poor and being kind to my neighbor. But praying – why is it so hard? What is wrong with me that I can’t pray like my pastor does? Or the other people in my small group…
And so it goes on until I eventually finish, give up, or run off to do something I just remembered I had to do.
For me, sometimes praying is like swimming upstream. I’m trying to swim towards God, to be in His presence and stay focused on our conversation. But the current of human weakness keeps pushing me back to my own thoughts. Debris, such as memories, worries, reminders of things I need to do constantly distract me. How much easier it is to float downstream with them than to maintain the energy required to push against that current. This causes frequent feelings of failure or inadequacy resulting in many apologies and pleas of forgiveness. I think God is gracious to keep forgiving me. And He is.
And yet, what if God’s response is different? What if instead of disapproval and tolerance, He looks at it in a different way. What if instead of saying, “You keep drifting away,” He says, “You keep coming back.”
For me, that would be game-changer.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14