Something I just have to share…yes, God does have a way of getting a point across to us.
Yesterday I ran across a post by Jennifer F. at her blog, Conversion Diary: Musings of a former atheist. She wrote about her struggles to commit even five minutes toward daily prayer. I’ve always struggled with this, myself, and I found her description both humorous and frightfully similar to my own feeble attempts at routine prayer (from Five second prayer):
“Getting into a prayer habit after a life of atheism is no easy thing.
Up until my late twenties, I’d never said a single prayer in my life. I tried to follow advice like, ‘Start by committing to only five minutes of prayer per day!’ but I actually managed to fail at that. Maybe it’s that it was a brand new habit or that I have some strong ADD tendencies, but my efforts at five minutes of prayer tended to go something like this:
Is this thing on? No, kidding. Hi, Lord, it’s me. I guess you knew that though. Anyway, I am grateful for all the good things in my life today, and sorry for the things I did wrong. (What can I say, I just don’t know where those f-bombs came from. At least it wasn’t in front of the kids.) Anyway, I ask you to strengthen my faith, and to help me be a better person…
72 seconds later:
…and when they say ‘dolla’ dolla’ bill, y’all’ in Sweetest Girl, I wonder if that would be considered sampling WuTang. Let’s think here about what technically constitutes sampling: to use a portion of a recorded song. So since they did not actually play anything originally recorded in C.R.E.A.M., it would probably be more accurate to say that Wyclef Jean was ‘drawing upon the wisdom’ of Wu rather than ‘sampling’ Wu. That reminds me of Busta Rhymes lifting Dangerous from a public service announcement. You cannot tell me that was an accident…”
Really, you’ve just got to read the rest, including her similar post on letting our perfectionist tendencies to paralyze us regarding prayer rituals…or anything.
Well, at this point my eyes were as big as dinner plates, because THIS IS ME, now. If I still doubted that God wanted me to come across this post, it vanished when I got to her prayer ramblings about Wyclef Jean’s Sweetest Girl sampling mystery: The refrain from that song was running through my head all day yesterday. You see, that song is on my running playlist for my daily run. (By the way, I know some of you may be thinking, why on earth is she listening to that stuff while she runs? And I retort, What else does one listen to as one sprints? Opera? Gregorian chant? I’m sorry, but it’s Rihanna or something upbeat.)
I guess I found it very comforting to know that others have this same problem, and that prayer can take on many different forms, even if it’s as simple as “Jesus, help me” during a hair-yanking moment. I think one of the best parts of my fairly new Catholic faith is the multitude of great recitation prayers, like the Rosary or the Divine Mercy. Because for me, extemporaneous prayer is an utter failure, even given my Protestant upbringing. I used to scoff at the idea of Catholics rattling off Hail Marys as ridiculous and repetitive and meaningless, but I couldn’t have been further from the truth. The act of reciting those prayers is calming and healing for me, and it allows my mind to focus on letting my heart speak to God and vice versa, rather than my subconscious mind trying to come up with what to say next, or the deficiencies in my prayers.
When it comes down to it, though, prayer is a little like exercise: You start small and work your way up. And if you hit a plateau, you stretch yourself further. I can commit myself to running my two miles every day, so the least I should be able to do is to sit down while the kids are napping and read the Bible or spend even a few moments in prayer.
Because like Jennifer hinted at, the more f-bombs one drops, the more prayer needed. And sometimes I can sound like a pirate. It’s one of my many failings.