Lately I’ve been keeping my eyes open, when it comes to prayer, that is.
The good girl within sometimes still cringes, when I feel like I’m going against the Supposed To’s and the Must Have’s and the This Is How We Do It, ala Montell Jordan meets Jesus prototype of Christian prayer.
Like I said, it’s kind of like this song plays in the background…
…and try as I might, I just can’t get it right.
I want to close my eyes, and I want to go hole up in the corner where no one will see me or hear me, where my words don’t matter because it’s just between me and heaven’s Magnum P.I.
I want holiness to emanate throughout the house – in fact, while we’re at it, it’d help me if the Mormon Tabernacle Christmas Album pumped holy puffs of air outside our house as well, simultaneous bursts of heavenly sound and smell alongside daily loads of Downy fresh protect. I want my children to sit quietly in the corner, reading, or maybe even humming Benedictine chants to the tune of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, while I breathe in the quiet of unbroken mornings with my Savior.
But ain’t none of that gonna happen, y’all.
So maybe that’s why I’ve been keeping my eyes open lately.
Because when my eyes are open, a different type of prayer happens. It’s a prayer that forces me to enter the moment, insides still as can be, while chaos realms in every outside precipice of my world.
It’s a prayer that brings a smile to my lips when my three-year-old boy jumps onto the piano bench, and starts banging on the keys, singing, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus to the tune of the song he’s just created.
It’s a prayer that quickens my insides and slows my pulse, all at the same time, when a smile slowly, shyly starts to creep across Baby Brother’s face, when it’s a smile entirely, solely directed at me.
And I don’t always know how Holy all of this is, but were we to dust off the family Bible, the one that nestles between wedding photo albums and Thomas the Train locomotives and circus-themed finger puppets, I think we could crack open a verse or two about the Kingdom of God. And maybe we’d see that it’s more about stepping into the holiness of what’s already here, of who’s already come, than begging and pleading and insisting Old Suitor Heaven come our way.
So, for now, I’m going to keep my eyes open. I’m going to keep my eyes open at the dinner table each night, when we go around the table and say what we’re thankful for, when Cancan clasps his hands together afterwards and shouts, “Amen!”
My eyes will stay open when I’m nursing and they’ll stay open on Sunday mornings when we gather with our people – because sometimes, when every head is bowed and every eye is closed, I like to keep mine open. I like to look around the room and breathe in the holiness, see eyelids kissed by peace and mouths pursed in intimate trust.
And that too is just as prayerful, because sometimes, the prayers of these saints are the ones that hold me up when I’m too weak to formulate my own.
So, what about you? What is prayer to you? Do share. And feel free to include your favorite, most obscure mid-90’s dance relic – bonus points if you do! Meanwhile, I’m over at Esther Emery’s blog, joining in for the weekly #wholemama prompt. We’d love for you to join us!0