"Pray on the hoof," Anne Graham Lotz challenged us. Weekly I sat (with 500 other ladies) under her teaching at Bible Study Fellowship in Raleigh. Her father, Billy Graham, said she's a better Bible expositor than he. She was extraordinary!
My prayer life has evolved several times over the years. My prayer list began to feel like rosary beads. So for a season, instead of a prayer list, I began to journal. Prayer took on various written forms--a section for confession, praise, thanksgiving, request, etc. I even prayed for awhile by thinking in pictures rather than words. As I visualized a face or place, I'd lift the image as a prayer, realizing God knows my very thoughts. Nature's beauty played a role in this.
Today my prayer life may be more like Anne described.
This is not to say that a time devoted strictly to prayer is not necessary. It is. But even that can become ritualistic, a checklist Christianity, rather than meaningful communion with my Father.
Being aware of God's constant companionship with me, I speak to Him as freely as I may phone Doug throughout the day to share whatever is on my mind.
Every now and then I'll phone Doug and when he answers, I'll sing, "I just called to say I love you. . ." or "Have I told you lately that I love you?" Sometimes he'll even start to sing, harmonizing with me. But always I hear him smile. Yes, you can tell when someone is smiling just by their voice.
God likes that too. Sometimes I'll burst into a spontaneous, "Lord, I just love you so much!" No requests. No list. I just called to say I love You. Sometimes I feel His love coming back to me. We duet! It's amazing to think, "He rejoices over me with singing." (Zephania 3:17) Can you imagine what God's voice sounds like singing your name?
Another form of hoof-praying I wandered into is what I call prayer-by-association. Frequently my sleep is interrupted by potty trips. Several years ago I decided to turn that annoyance into a purpose greater than itself!
My nephew, Brian Tippett, was diagnosed with lymphoma. Now while our family prayed for him often throughout the day, I told him, "Brian, I want you to know you are also the sole subject of my potty prayers." I explained and he didn't even flinch at the weirdness. He gets me. (Bless his heart, he's LIKE me!) But many times in the middle of the night, I called his name to the Lord. I'm not sure how Brian felt being associated with my throne, but he was healed!
Brian & Bert
My big brother, Bert, (Brian's dad) was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Soon after that, I told Karen, his daughter, that she would be the recipient of my potty prayers for awhile. God has given her amazing strength to walk this path with her parents. Bert was hospitalized yesterday so he and Dianne will be on my heart in the middle of the night now. Please pray with me for him.
My whole family knows about my potty prayers and have come to treat me as quite normal in that.
Another niece, Christine Tippett Ellis, is a missionary in Honduras. She's the firstborn of my younger brother, Ricky. We began writing blogs about the same time. We've shared a lot through the experience. One day I was surprised at the delivery of a large package. It was filled with amazing varieties of Honduran coffees. She knows my weaknesses! What a perfect love gift of thanks. Every morning as I pour another flavor, I pray for Christine, Robbie and little Claire. Prayer by association.
For Mother's Day my baby, Katy, gave me jewelry. Special jewelry. The lovely necklace, bracelet and earrings were made by a woman in Uganda. Beads for Life is a ministry enabling women who have no way to earn a living (due largely to family deaths by AIDS) to work and care for themselves and their children. With the jewelry came a card picturing 3 women, one of whom made my jewelry set.
Sunday as I wore the jewelry I prayed, "Lord, I don't know which of these women made these, but You do. Bless her livelihood with success, keep her safe from danger and evil. And thank You for Katy and her thoughtfulness."
My prayers have been associated with the hymnal. I sing the verses to God. Sometimes I even go to the piano here at home and worship alone with Him.
More recently I decided not to turn on the radio or CD player in the car. Those few minutes in errands around town have become a sweet sanctuary for God and I time. The car is my association with silence, solitude, a holy of holies without interruption.
Occasionally on facebook I feel the Lord nudge me to offer to pray for folks. Quite a few post requests, some privately. For a couple of weeks, hearts pour out to me and I embrace the holy task to lift them up in prayer.
Sometimes praying the Word back to God or applying what I just read in prayer meshes both the Bible and prayer into more of a conversation. It may be a prayer of praise or confession, sometimes just a request to learn or do what I just read about. The Word becomes living in that process.
When I began this blog I said I would throw open our curtains and let you glimpse into our lives. Today I do just that and offer you little vignettes of my prayer life. It's not a soapbox or even a suggestion or example. It's just me being me.
Maybe what Paul meant when he said, "Pray without ceasing" today has something to do with potties, coffee, jewelry, hymnals, pianos, car-errands, even facebook!
Today I asked God to bless you with a flood of His love, dear reader. He knows your name, even if I don't.