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It doesn't have to be the blue iris


I often unintentionally make prayer seem so complicated, and I bring so many unnecessary expectations to prayer. I admit it's usually silly stuff, but it seems to run deep. In the deepest parts of me, I can appreciate that prayer is a way of being, a conversation I'm having with our God and the world around me by simply being really engaged, and sometimes it serves me well to use words out loud or under my breath or in my mind. Other times I don't have to use any words. But there's just so many little "rules" I've picked up along the way that still make prayer more complicated than it needs to be.


"If you're distracted, your prayers aren't good."

"Quiet solitude is the absolute best arena for prayer."

"When you pray, you shouldn't ask for something from God right away... you have to first butter Him up with thanks and stuff."

"Prayer is just asking for an unfair advantage."

"He already knows, but you gotta tell Him anyway."

"I can't just talk. I have to listen, too."


I recently stumbled upon a poem by Mary Oliver that I really like (below). I appreciate that she's not what any of us would consider an "authority" on prayer, and yet so many of her poems draw attention to the spiritual realm of nature -- where many of us would anecdotally say we feel closest to God, where prayer may come easier. Prayer isn't primarily a dedicated, man-made, set-aside time of the day for running your list with God, though I seem to treat it this way a lot. Or I try to make prayer this grand thing when, in reality, meaningful prayer could honestly be attending to the subtle beauty in the weeds poking through the cracks in the sidewalk, to use her analogy. It can happen on the go or while changing a diaper. It doesn't have to be silent around you, but rather it could lead to quiet in your soul where deeper communication can happen. I hope you'll enjoy the poem and bring its ethos with you throughout your day.


"Prayer"

It doesn't have to be the blue iris, it could be weeds in a vacant lot, or a few small stones; just pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don't try to make them elaborate, this isn't a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which another voice may speak.

(Thirst, 2007)


- Conor

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