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On Praying Without Listening

December 17, 2013

Praying Without Listening

I pulled into the handicapped parking area at an angle, simultaneously leaping from the driver’s seat to open the back door. My trombone-toting virtuoso hopped out and ran for the auditorium door. He turned back to me at the door. “What about my books?!” His voice was panicked.

“I’ll take care of it. Just go! RUN!”

It was 7:35am.

Five minutes late.

I am never late. I hate to be late. Late is a big deal to me; just another thing for me to equate with goodness, is timeliness. My parents always taught me that timeliness is a sign of respect. I am never late. But in this particular instance, I deserve a medal for being five minutes late. ONLY five minutes late. Or, at least a gold star.

I’m not entirely certain how it happened, but we managed to arrive precisely 31 minutes after we all woke up. We drastically overslept. We never oversleep. I am married to the penultimate morning person. He and my youngest are up with the roosters, usually before dawn.

Not so today. Today was different. Today, I rolled over and looked at my phone, blinking at the brightness as my sleepy brain registered the time: 6:56am.

We usually leave the house at 6:55am.

This is bad, bad bad bad badabadabadbadabad nonononononononooooooo.

Between shaking Gabe and hollering at the kids, I started praying. Today was a big day. It was a very, very, very bad day to wake up late. Scooby’s first band performance is today. He needed to be there early to warm up. He was already nervous. And now, we will be late.

I spent five whole minutes running in circles in my pajamas, mentally pleading my standard panic-stricken prayer: “OhGodohGodohGodohGod pleasepleasepleaseplease” Not really asking for anything. Just pleading. Not really expecting anything in return.

This time was different. A deafening whisper filled my head:

“Are you just going to keep on saying the same thing over and over again or are you going to trust me?

Well, THAT shut me up.

I don’t know if that was merely my subconscious pointing out the obvious or Something Larger and inexplicable, but it occurred to me then how often I pray without believing anything is going to happen. I pray because that’s what good girls do, not because I have faith that someone is actually paying attention on the other end of the line.

Acting on my behalf. Interceding.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6 NIV

Emmanuel, God With Us Wonderful Counselor. Another translation reads, “Wise Guide.”

Advocate. Helper. Guide. Counselor.

It kind of gets lost behind Almighty God and Everlasting Father, but it’s actually first in the list of the Names of God With Us. Sent from heaven, to live among us, to be human with us, to love and lead us.

Wise guide. First and foremost. I tell my children to pray about every little thing on their hearts. That no problem or concern is too big or too small for our loving Father. But I save up my own trifling worries, storing them in backpack of my own design, refusing to share or ask for counsel.

As if I were somehow better suited to deal with my life than He is.

I shout out my pleas, never listening to see what He might have to say in response.

My wild, haphazard mental cries nearly blocked out the whisper of peace. Praying without listening isn’t praying. It’s a monologue, not a dialogue.

How many times before have I missed it? This time, I heard, but were there others? Other opportunities to Let It Go and relax?

We made it to the rehearsal in time enough. Scooby performed beautifully. There were no repercussions for our extra sleep. It’s not world peace, or the end of childhood hunger, but clearly, it was important enough for Him to listen to me and act on our behalf.

Wonderful counselor, Prince of Peace.

May you remember more easily than I that a Wise Guide is waiting to hear your joys and sorrows, worries and concerns…. large, small and in between.

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