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 


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