We got to pray just to make it today. I heard that somewhere.
Praying as a focused effort was something I, gratefully, learned early on in my life. Prayer was explained to me as a conversation, and that it doesn’t have to be made up of big words and I don’t have to necessarily stop everything and make it a big ceremonious act. God hears my heart. He knows my thoughts. Why do I think I can hide them from Him and why do I think that I have to dress it all up before I show Him these things?
I had a roommate in college who would get up earlier than everyone else every single day and take a shower and do her hair and makeup long before the rest of us woke up. She admitted that she was too embarrassed to have anyone see her without her “face on.” I think she lasted most of the first semester but by the end, I had seen her at least a handful of times without makeup and her hair not quite dried and curled yet. I told her she was crazy and that she was so beautiful with or without all the products, but she insisted that it wasn’t proper or somesuch, being a good southern woman or something. (I hope she doesn’t ever feel less than beautiful and that this changed when she got married. I also hope I’m not offending any southerners who may or may not have the same morning routines.)
Anyway, it makes me think of how we think we need to prepare to meet with God. As if we can avoid Him until we’re “ready” for Him to see us. I don’t feel the need for this. God has seen me at my absolute worst, ugliest, most depraved state of being imaginable. What could I possibly hide? What could I possibly do to dress it up? It would take all the makeup ever made in the history of beauty products to cover up my blemishes and imperfections. It would take more products and electric gadgets than Conair and Revlon and whoever else is out there these days combined to straighten out my crooked heart and its tendencies to stray.
So praying is my first and last resort. I have come to know that my thoughts can be controlled and put to good use when I remember my audience with the King. A gracious king whose throne room is always open and lovingly calls me to His side. I have an open, constant invitation to lay down all my burdens and fears and hopes and worries. He invites me in, dressed for the ball or not dressed at all – naked and poor, wretched and blind I come. He scoops me up with his royal robes and sets my feet on His steps. He evens watches for me from His window when I haven’t come for awhile. He runs out to meet me in the hall, no guards, no pomp and circumstance, no ritual to follow. He longs to hear from me. He hears me when I am not even addressing Him. So I train my thoughts – that they also are directed to Him – and my mind is set. Where my mind goes, my heart goes. Oh that my heart will always go to Jesus. it’s when I’m being selfish and prideful that I don’t go running to the throne room. It’s when I want my own way, angry or ashamed that I try to hide or begin to think I even can.
I pray, as I know my husband prays, daily, hourly, whenever needed. When I think about anything, the struggles of the day, the needs we must meet, the conflicts arising, the relational discords that erupt, the baby crying, the world around us screaming in chaos, I pray my thoughts. Let my mind and meditations be acceptable, and let them be productive. I turn my anxious ramblings into prayers, even when I cannot even name my fears. My King knows. I don’t waste the time thinking things through any more. I don’t waste my time fearing or figuring, as if readying my hair and makeup before anyone else can see. I give myself, my all, to Jesus, thought, word, deed – to do what He will with them. I have to. There is no other way.