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“In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.”–Mark 1:35

prayI’ve been thinking a lot about prayer lately–mostly how I don’t do it very well.

Most of my prayers are quick “This is the way I want things to be God–and I want them to be that way–Right Now.”

It’s interesting to wonder what Jesus prayed. As a human being, he was subject to the same temptations as us all.  Particularly, maybe, in listening to what other people wanted him to do, thought he should do, believed he should act based on their limited knowledge of God–versus what God actually wanted him to do.

We don’t know what Jesus prayed exactly, but we do know how: habitually, and alone.  And based on his actions, it’s apparent he listened to  God more than he talked.

Why do we think we can only pray with five-syllable words and long sentences, and prayer is only really, really effective if we go on . . .and on . . . and on?  What’s wrong with showing up, keeping our comments short,  shutting up, and sitting still long enough to really listen to God?

(Could be God is sending this preacher a message in that last sentence. Note to self for next week’s service: Show Up. Keep it Short.  Shut Up. And Pray. With More Silence and Less Words.)

Mostly I think I’m not always so comfortable with what God has to say.  Little reminders to not be so judgmental.  Realizations that my days may not always be as easy and carefree as I want. In-your-face discussions about how much I actually trust God, and whether I don’t really trust my own abilities more.

Sometimes, in the mornings, I’ve made the mistake of praying that God connect me with the people God wants me to see that day.  The results have been amazing–and terrifying. I’ve never really loved that feeling at the top of the roller-coaster right before you drop.  But on those  days when I’m brave enough to pray that prayer–I’m really glad I signed on for the ride anyway.  Mostly because I know Christ’s sitting right there next to me, holding my hand as I hurtle into the unknown.  Those are the days I’ve come to see Him and feel Him next to me the most.

If  you read the rest of the first chapter of Mark, you begin to wonder how Jesus–with all the people he had to help and teach– could find time to sneak off on his own and pray.  

And when you think about that–why in heaven’s name do we think we’re too busy not to pray?