Monday, September 3, 2012

Going from PrayerShy to Crazy Prayer Lady

Tonight we sat around and prayed before we went to bed. I said, "Everyone say something they are thankful for" and Shep said,

"Thank you God for making me so awesome."

Perhaps he was just paraphrasing the "I am fearfully and wonderfully made" verse.

Probably. Awesome parents that we are, we've groomed him to have such a meek and humble heart.

Or not.

The fact that my 9 year old son is comfortable praying out loud, humbly or not, is a big deal to begin with. Because I come from a We Don't Pray Out Loud family. The only time I heard anyone in my family pray was at Thanksgiving, and then I wasn't paying much attention to the actual prayer, confused as I was by how my East Texas relatives had transformed before my eyes into medieval English squires what with all the thee's and thou's and ye's.

The summer between 7th and 8th grade I went to an Assemblies of God summer camp with a friend - and that's a story for a whole nother time - but I was in the clinic when a kid came in with an earache. The nurse gave him some medicine and then she put her hands on his ears and prayed over him. Freaked. Me. Out.

I was raised Methodist in the 70s, y'all.  
Praying out loud, laying hands on people, bugging God over little things like earaches?

We just didn't go there.

I do go there now. I go there a lot. I pray over aching heads, raging diaper rashes, constipated heineys, and the recent molluscum contagiosum that has invaded our house. The charismatic summer camp nurse lady ain't got nothing on me. (Well, except I don't pray in tongues.) (Whole nother story.)

I also pray with them for safe roadtrips, school projects, friends to be nice, and eyeglasses to be located. I want our kids to be able to have many memories of their mom praying over them.

Even if a certain little girl has a memory of her red faced, wild eyed mom screaming "JESUS!! HELP ME WITH THIS SMART MOUTHED CHILD!!"  Made that Special Memory just yesterday, y'all.

The first time another woman prayed out loud over me was that nun in Israel that made me puke.  I've had other experiences since then that were so meaningful, I just wanted to be one of those women. So I went from Scared to Pray Out Loud Girl to Will Pray With Anyone Right Here, Right Now Girl.

Oh how did you make this amazing transformation, asked the PrayerShy Girls? There's only one way to do it: by doing it.

My trial came by fire. When I was still Methodist and still prayershy I helped chaperone the youth in my church on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. We visited a children's hospital, and if you're envisioning a modern, sterile technological environment, lose that vision right now and imagine a children's hospital in third world country. We weren't there to do anything but pray over them, and I was happy to watch the others do just that.

Then we arrived at the bed a toddler girl. Diana, the missionary doctor I'd become close to, told me she was dying. We all put our hands on her, and Diana told me to pray. I was crying. "I can't," I whispered to her as the little girl's mother watched. Diana looked me in the eyes. "Yes," she said. "YOU CAN." And I did. I sobbed the entire time, and my sentences may not have made any sense, but I begged aloud for God to heal that baby girl. And the prayershyness? Once you've prayed before the mother of a dying baby, praying out loud to find your keys just isn't such a big deal anymore.

You probably won't get inducted into public praying so dramatically. But one of the best ways to break your own ice is to pray with your kids. So tomorrow we'll talk more about that. 

Part 2 here 


  1. this is an awesome post! SO AWESOME. I was a prayershy girl, too. Still recovering, actually. I was also one of those who decided when/if I would "bother" God with my insignificant thoughts and then I realized that they are not insignificant because it's what I'm thinking/worrying about, and I'm significant to Him. So I wanted my kids to get that ASAP so I just started praying out loud about everything. This post was encouraging to me. AND the part about the red-faced, crazy mama asking Jesus to help her with this smart-mouthed child made me laugh so hard I SNORTED!! I love love love how funny you are while you're saying important stuff. That's a gift, and I'll just thank God that I get to be blessed by it (out loud) :)

  2. I'm a big time prayershy girl, but I've definitely made some progress since becoming a parent. My kids (and kids I've taught at church) are the only people I pray aloud in front of/with/over. I don't want them to grow up to be scared to pray aloud, so I do it often in this house. Hopefully someday I'll be able to branch out in praying aloud in front of peers (or heck, even my hubby!)

    As for "JESUS!! HELP ME WITH THIS SMART MOUTHED CHILD!!", I can relate. ;)

  3. Thank you for this. I will share it :-)

  4. Really loved this. I pray a lot throughout the day but I think I might need to start praying a little more out loud too!


  5. Having children of my own helped me learn to pray out loud. I find myself praying a lot these days. Thanks for this post.

  6. I thought the same thing about the fearfully and wonderfully made verse :)

    When I'm praying out loud and I feel myself about to get "stuck" (words aren't coming to me) I pray scripture out loud and it helps me get back on track

  7. Hahaha!!! "I went to an Assemblies of God summer camp with a friend" me too! and you are right! That is a 'story for a whole nother time'!!! I actually went for several summers, and 16 years later, my friends and I still talk about it :-) I was a quiet pray-er, but our adoption process has taught me A LOT about prayer.

  8. Has the dermatogist offered to burn the molluscum off with beetle juice? That's when the real prayers begin! :)

  9. Go get some Zymaderm from Walgreens for the molluscum.

  10. Love this post! I share a lot of similarities with you in this area. Been to a Dominican hospital and know exactly what you're talking about!

  11. There's a lot of times as a Mom that I feel out of control. Usually I feel frantic and crazy. But when you simply lay your hands on your child and pray outloud, you are handing the control over. And it feels so good, and it makes perfect sense. And quite honestly, I love it when people pray over me, too.

  12. this is awesome. i hate praying out loud. i force myself to do it, but i want it to get easier. i say some great prayers in my head, but getting them out is a whole other story!

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