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A Thought on Prayer

What are you thinking about right now?

Alright, let’s be honest for a moment. When someone is praying, we aren’t focused on what is being said 100 percent of the time. If you are anything like me, your mind travels a million miles and back during a 30 second prayer. I am not saying I don’t hear what is being prayed for, or that it is not important enough for me to pay attention to. I absolutely believe in the power and importance of prayer.

The thing I find interesting is where our mind goes during prayer. Usually something is said in prayer that reminds me of something I need to do. From there it is off to the races.

You know what I am talking about. It happens in all sorts of prayers.

There is the classic Sunday morning church prayer. At some point someone gets up to bring the needs of the congregation before God. No matter where you are in your faith, most people would agree that collective prayer for those in need is an important duty of the church. As a part of the congregation, you completely support this prayer, and agree with the things being said. As a 21st-century American, your mind is already processing what the next week is going to look like.

I should probably mow the lawn after church today. I need to pay my credit card bill. The Seahawks play at 1. Man, they are bad this year. Shoot! Did I get my fantasy football team in order this morning? I wonder if anyone will judge me for looking on my phone real quick. I shouldn’t have put cheese on my eggs this morning. How many times will I get to the gym this week?

Another example is the family gathering pre-meal prayer. I don’t know what your family is like, but when mine gets together, well, let’s just say I would bet that the Ark was less chaotic. (Noah’s ark that is.)

As everyone is showing up and commenting on how big the youngest member is getting (even if they are 22 now, and most likely have not grown in three or four years), someone decides to be the good Christian and requests that grace be said before eating.

Girl, please.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am constantly humbled by the reality of how blessed I am. The simple fact that I am getting to sit down with people I love, and eat—something not everyone in this world will get to do today—is enough to stop me dead in my tracks and bring me to tears. However, when I am super hungry, and the smell of Grandma’s green bean casserole is filling the room, it’s hard to stay focused.

Which dish should I go for first? I bet the sweet potatoes are going to get eaten quickly, so I should probably get some of those first. I love crescent rolls. I hope Aunt Monica didn’t put coconut in the fruit salad this year. Who farted?

Oh the joys of family.

I don’t know if this is something everyone notices about themselves, but I am pretty sure I am not alone here.

I don’t really have any big profound point to make about all of this. Maybe it is a sign that we need to slow down sometimes, and remember what prayer is truly about. Or, more importantly, who we are praying to. Maybe it gives us some insight into our culture today. We have become so good at doing several things at once that we can’t focus on just one thing at a time. Maybe it’s inevitable that our minds wander through the webs of our understanding. I don’t know.

Just a thought.

Written by Chris S.

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