See and Hear and Know
Confession time:I recited The Lord’s Prayer a lot during school ski trips. Oh, not (hopefully) where other people could hear me – like, not on the bus on the way to our skiing destination, or on the bunny hill, or as I was trying to learn how to stop careening down a snowy incline.
But on the t bar lift? All. The. Time. All the time. Allthetime.
I clung with mitten-clad or gloved hands to the middle bar while trying to remember to not actually sit on the cross bar underneath my tookus, and the whole way up, I prayed. Or, more accurately I suppose, as my skis slid across the packed snow, I recited The Lord’s Prayer, and often at about this speed: Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil for Thine is the kingdom the power and the glory forever amen.
I would repeat it until I either got to the top of the hill or within earshot of someone else. And it was all I knew to do at that moment to calm myself, to try to steady myself, because for some reason that whole process possibly stressed me out more than the trip back down the mountain on my skis. It was my way, I think, of reminding God I was there and to please, please keep on eye on me.
Somehow, I think in the little I knew then of prayer and God and being scared/nervous, He heard me. And kept an eye on me, reminding me to not sit down on that t bar.
Never stop listening and learning.
The above sentence is the very first thing I typed out on my iPad during the past Sunday’s sermon at my church on developing a life of prayer.
That’s one of the cool and fascinating things about God and the Bible: There is always something new to be discovered, or something old or familiar to be seen in a brighter light or a more nuanced perspective.
And I’ve seen this when it comes to praying in general, to my own times of prayer in particular. One of my most memorable (to me) answered prayers was a prayer made when I hit pause on a study session for a university course. There was nothing fancy or loud about it. I remember standing at the patio door in the apartment I shared with my sister, second-guessing a decision to end (mutually) a dating relationship. “Show me in a way even I won’t question,” I remember saying in the gathering dusk. I didn’t “fancy up” my speech. Nor did I second-guess it afterwards. I simply went back to my studying. And it was a couple of years later when I realized God answered that prayer – big time – two weeks after I prayed it when I started officially dating the man I’m still proud and thankful and happy to call my husband.
It wasn’t a recited prayer. But, like many of those t bar prayers, it was heartfelt. I came as best as I knew to do before God. And He heard me. And kept an eye on me still.
And as I’ve been pondering prayer, it made my soul release a breath it had been holding when I read the following words from Jesus:
Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense His grace. -Matthew 6:6 (The Message)
On that snowy hillside. By that second-story apartment patio door. I came, as honestly and as simply as I knew to do, and I prayed. And God heard.
May I always so go, and may I always see and hear and know Him as He has always seen and heard and known me.