At lunch with James, he prayed over us and the meal I could literally feel God’s warmth encompass the table. It’s not often that happens.
Honestly, most of the time people pray, I’m nervous. I try so hard to concentrate on their words and not let my mind wander. I’m simultaneously embarrassed and honored if they’re praying for me. Gel..um Life Group prayers make me really edgy. Who’s gonna talk? What are they going to say? Will every single prayer request get mentioned, or is someone going to be left out? Did Robin already pray for Ally? How long will this bit of silence last? I’m on the edge of my seat until the final “amen,” then I can relax. It’s over. (Blow out big breath.)
I talk to God all the time. Praying I guess. He’s always there, and that’s a good thing. I ask, wonder, yell, cry, beg, praise…the whole gamut. It’s very comfortable for me, this ongoing private conversation with God.
Group prayers and someone praying for a group are uneasy positions for me. Even in church, when my pastors pray, I’m holding my breath, trying to hear the words, waiting for it to end. Yeah, yeah, just get to the point, I’m thinking. Not disrespectfully, mind you, but kinda like swallowing chalky liquid medicine. Choking it down, wishing for the water that comes after. Just get it over with, God and I can hash it out later.
And yet, when two or more are gathered in His name…shouldn’t group prayer be something I’m driven toward and not away from?
I don’t know why I have such a hard time with group prayer. Most of the time, I’m not even involved so it can't be performance anxiety. I just have to sit there in correct posture: hands together, head bowed, eyes downcast. Pretty boring position, though, considering I’m used to addressing God while engaged in an activity: maneuvering through traffic, sorting laundry, or painting walls.
But James’ prayer was comfortable for me. Just the three of us, holding a circle of hands, heads bowed, and his sure words floating across the restaurant. And, God there with us.
I want that to be how I feel with every prayer. I’ll be working on it…