Van United Methodist Church
Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Praying Perfectly

"One morning I awoke with a desire I wanted to fulfill. It concerned a way I wanted to be.

This was a matter to lay before God. This was a matter for prayer. The desire was for a power and goodness, and I wanted the prayer to be right. I would preface my request with an acknowledgement of my unworthiness. This wasn’t false; I knew it, and God would accept it.

All day phrases and words escaped me. My special prayer lay limp and wouldn’t take shape. I would set aside a time. I would approach him in truth.

In the evening I closed myself away from others. I read his word. I fought for phrases and words – I felt embarrassed and mute. And the world got bigger, and God got greater, and I got smaller.

Frustrated, I jerked to reality, and suddenly I was flooded with the answer, and I was the way I wanted to be.

But I felt confused . . . I had wanted that moment of communication with God, but I had found myself impotent and alone. Then I thought I heard something.

‘I heard you this morning.’

I think I have a lot to learn about prayer."

This was written by Lois A Cheney in her book, "God is No Fool" back in 1969. The book is now out of print and if one is blessed, they might find it in a used book store or maybe from one of the used book dealers who sells online.

I don’t know if this is suppose to be poetry or short essays or what we might label it. Some of the pieces are definitely poetry and some are, well, whatever this is.

Regardless, this author captures truth in the most simple of terms. She manages to cut through the words, the doubts, the religiosity, and in simple terms, reminds me that faith isn’t the long drawn out theology of the early Church Fathers, the contemporary religious thinkers, or even those church leaders who I admire.

I wanted to share it with you because it shaped my prayers – my praying.

As a child, I would hear adults pray in church and was amazed how good ole West Texas men, who spoke with notorious twang, suddenly sounded like a Shakespearian actor using ‘thees’ and ‘thous’ like it was ya’ll. I could not imagine myself praying like that and I think I was afraid to pray. I was afraid that God could only hear the King James Version of what I wanted to say. I wasn’t just sad, I was afraid.

The years have added more than just gray to my head, it also added an understand-ing of God and what God requires. Lois Cheney just helped affirm what I am still learning. God isn’t an English Teacher and is less interested in sentence structure than how our heart speaks. He has no formal format for our petitions and simply wants to have a conversation. And he wants us to listen as well. That’s how we hear, "I heard you this morning."