– Terrell Lewis (@SgBz) April 17, 2010
I reply: I agree.
Profound response, I know. But I truly believe what he wrote.
Let me take you back some years. I am pretty desperate (because that’s what it takes for me to think that I cannot solve all my problems ALL BY MYSELF thank you very much). A friend suggests that I pray everyday about my situation. She says that I don’t even need to believe in God or understand why. She suggests that I get on my knees and talk.
So that evening, I look right and left. I creep quietly up the stairs and walk nonchalantly into my bedroom. And I quickly close and lock the door. I walk to the other side of the bed. As far away from the door and windows as possible. I crouch down ready to jump up at any time and say NOT PRAYING!
I finally settle on my knees and bring my hands in front of me. My breath is rushing in and out because I’m pretty sure that I’m going to get caught. Haven’t you heard of the roving bands of intelligent atheist looking to point and laugh at the crazy praying people?
I pause for a moment and say: Hi God. It’s me, Alex. Yes. Like the book, but with the wrong title. Because it’s a darn good book with a title that I always mess up. (Clearly.)
And the next day I pray again. Same routine. Same fear of being caught. Slightly longer conversation.
I pretty much repeat this until I begin to realize that something is happening. At first, I think that everyone else has changed. Wow. This prayer thing ROCKS. But I am assured, by people smarter than I, that my prayers are not THAT powerful. My prayers are not mystical spells and magic wands. In fact, it is pointed out that my situation has not changed much. But my perspective has shifted. I carried a bit more peace and joy into my daily living. Perhaps I am the one who has changed. Maybe daily prayer is changing me.
Now given my track record, this should’ve been the point where I say: Thank you very much for all your help. Now I’ll stop doing what is working so well and go back to my old ways. Buh-bye! Followed by a big ol’ high-five to God and prayer as I walk out the door.
But even that has changed. Slightly. But enough that I continue to chat with God to this day. I don’t even need to be in a locked room anymore! I pray in the car after that @##hole cuts me off. I pray in line while the store clerk figures out how to process a check (because WHO STILL USES CHECKS?). I pray when good things happen. And bad things. And no things. I even pray WITH OTHER PEOPLE. Like holding hands. And, eventually, I pray FOR other people. But not in a smite kind of way. More like in a thy will be done kind of way. Because maybe I DON’T know all the answers. (This last sentence is up for debate in my household. Just an FYI.)
So I wholeheartedly agree with my twitter friend. Because when I think that it’s YOU who needs to change and it’s YOU who needs to pray, I stop and pray on it. And eventually you get to be exactly who you are. Because I’ve changed. Because I am forever changed. By the simple act of prayer.