The Prayer is the Feeling, Not the Words

When I was a kid, say about ages 6 through….oh….37, I had a relationship with prayer that was….uhm…..less than spiritual. Actually, me and a girlfriend would usually sit together during church and (forgive me Father for I knew not what I do-ed) <embarrassment ensues> time them….with a watch….with a second hand, which wasn’t necessary because they were never seconds. They were eons. Brother X held the record during my timing career for the longest prayers ever. He was followed closely in second by Brother Y.

We had sermons shorter than those prayers….at least after Brother Z retired (who by the way was quite capable of challenging Brother X on the time thing, but since he was preaching, he only occasionally shared his prayer prowess with us….usually right before a fellowship dinner when my tummy was ready to reach up and rip out his vocal chords. :-). (God bless you for coming to us, Trey.)

Needless to say, I never really got the whole prayer thing. To them, I am certain it was a deeply moving spiritual link up to the Big Hard Drive in the sky. To me it was a contest to see who could cover every last sick, poor, aching, tragic person, situation, or sin the world has ever known, while thanking the Almighty for every good, right, law-abiding, finance-boosting event that had ever or would ever occur. Nope, I never got it. All I could see were the precious minutes of the last day of my two day weekly vacation slipping ever-so-slowing out of my grasp…er…watch.

To make matters worse, I had this screwed up belief that I was some how not Christian enough because, a. I timed prayers, and b. I couldn’t (or more like wouldn’t) spend a good three hours a day on my knees in a closet running down the list in hushed whisper tones, and c. if Iclosed my eyes and sat in a closet, I might miss what little social action was going on around me a gillion miles out in the boonies.

All I have to say to about that is I don’t think it was very nice of God to torture me like that for most of 40 years waiting on my slow, but trouble-making self to figure out how that prayer thing really works. Seriously? He could have enlightened me a LITTLE sooner and saved me all that horrible stress and guilt and grief that I spent three hours every day acknowledging on my knees in my closet. (Just kidding on that last part. See paragraph above, item c.)

Anyway, to make a long story longer and more tortuous (I learned it from those praying dudes), I think I am finally on the road to recovery. I have been reading about yogis lately, and I keep stumbling on quotes that say things like, “The prayer isn’t about what I say or chant or dance or whatever. Those are just the actions I take to get to the feeling that is the prayer.” Oh, and in case you hadn’t noticed, that was an exact quote from a really spiritual yogi dude exactly like he said it, complete with the “whatever” part. (Ok, maybe it isn’t a DIRECT quote, but one of ’em did say something sorta kinda like that.)

And of course, I still hadn’t figured out how to get to the FEELING part of prayer. But at least I sort of knew what I was looking for.

Then I read this woman’s Harlequin Romance Meets Green Acres: High Heels to Tractor Wheels story. Then I read most everything else on her blog…(except the cooking stuff….I’m just not ready to embrace the cooking thing right now. We’re dealing with spirit matters currently, and that’s all I can handle). But yeah……can you say STALKER??? I’d be really scared of people like me if I were her.

Anyways….I pretty much stalked the chaps off of her website (you gotta read it to figure out what that one is referencing), had some…ahem….special time with my farm boy (he loves it when I read/watch romance stuff), and then realized how calm and happy and giddy I was feeling having been reminded of my own love story and the back-to-the-land direction my life is taking.

And then it hit me…….that un-drug induced high I was on…..that stress-free-peaceful-easy-feelin’, the-sun-loves-me-and-the-moon-does-too, I-can-have-be-do-conquer-anything-in-or-out-of-this-world, (I could probably add “runners-high” here, but that does not and may not ever apply to me) feeling is what the yogi was talking about. Because in that state of being, thinking, feeling, every ounce of negativity, every speck of what-the-hell-have-I-done panic, every thought of not enough was gone. Only a peaceful gratitude remained.

Then it hit me….THAT is prayer.

People spend their whole lives searching for it. Some get addicted to drugs to experience it. I just stalked The Pioneer Woman for two days straight to get mine.

Okay Ree, you can add that to your list of expertise you didn’t know you had.



PS: For the record, Brothers X, Y, and Z were some awesome men who loved their Jesus with all their hearts. No disrespect is intended whatsoever in referencing them in this post. They taught me much in my lifetime, for which I am truly grateful.

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