Lindy’s Blog: Where Mom is Always Right

November 18, 2008

Prayer is like exercise

Filed under: Catholicism — by lindyborer @ 12:25 pm
Tags: , , ,

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.

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4 Comments »

  1. I totally feel you! I became Baha’i 3 years ago and before that only really turned to prayer in times of need instead of being a habit, and a true conversation with God. I have found what helps sometimes if I am feeling stuck is to turn to my prayerbook and recite the prayers of Baha’u’llah. The words are so beautiful and often express in a way that I can’t what I feel and am trying to say.

    Comment by anotherworldcitizen — November 18, 2008 @ 12:40 pm |Reply

  2. “And sometimes I can sound like a pirate. It’s one of my many failings.” As I’m sure you can guess, I can completely relate!

    I loved this post, and am inspired that you enjoyed some of mine. I’m glad to have discovered your blog and will definitely be back.

    Comment by Jennifer (Conversion Diary) — November 18, 2008 @ 12:48 pm |Reply

  3. After reading your blog now for about a month, I find the f-bomb mention hard to believe. Anyway we all have our crosses. I too struggle with my prayer life. I even attend a group once a week that is center on our Catholic faith and prayer. For me exercise induces prayer for some reason. I often find myself thanking God for my ability to do squats past the point of what I may have thought was humanly possible or praising Him with arms outstretched in various precarious positions. Don’t be too hard on yourselves. Strive for your live to be a continuous prayer. Don’t think about when you last spoke to God in your day, just continue. Your post has inspired me to do the daily readings for the day and if possible actually have an examination of conscience. Thanks for the reminder.

    Comment by Lisa — November 18, 2008 @ 2:00 pm |Reply

  4. Well, oftentimes it’s under my breath, but I really don’t think this excuses it in any way. I actually say a string of expletives when I’m excessively angry about something. It’s to the point that it’s ingrained, imprinted, whatever you want to call it. It’s a terrible habit to break though. And embarrassing to admit. But what is it that is sometimes so SATISFYING about saying a four letter word? “Fiddlesticks” just doesn’t cut it. But it does make me want to laugh. Perhaps I should say “Fiddlesticks” instead. It’s hard to laugh and be mad at the same time.

    Anyway, it sounds like many of us struggle with this issue. And you know what? I think I’ll go pray for a bit, since the kids are occupied.

    Comment by lindyborer — November 18, 2008 @ 2:19 pm |Reply


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