Saturday, October 22, 2011

Praying Aloud

As a child, I learned about prayer first from my parents.  We had family prayer and my parents helped me with learning to pray personally.  I don't really remember them teaching ME, but we would kneel in our living room or in our bedroom, and we would take turns saying our prayers.  They helped my little brothers and sisters learn the things to say to God.  Often for me, prayer time was just a contest with my brothers to see who could say the coolest thing to Heavenly Father.

When I got a little bit older I got to go spend time with my grandparents.  My aunt let me sleep in her pink (!) sleeping bag on the floor in her bedroom.  I liked it better there than in any other place, even though other places even had beds.  We'd get dressed and brush our teeth for bed, and then we would kneel at her bedside and silently pray.  This was my first experience with praying silently, but I liked it.  I liked feeling all alone with Heavenly Father, no one else listening.  I don't know how old I was the first time I prayed next to my aunt, praying at her bedside; but I remember it.  I remember loving the dark and the quiet and my aunt and my grandma and grandpa and my parents and my Heavenly Father.  I've had many sweet experiences praying silently in the car or by the bed or at my desk or in church--and in thousands of other places.

Lately, though, I've found my mind distracted as I pray.  It's probably a sign of age that I can't focus on anything quiet and still.  But it IS quiet, and I can hear people walking around or the TV on or or the washer finishing a cycle or a car coming into the driveway or whatever.  And I'm TIRED.  So when I'm alone (because I still don't like everyone listening in on my private conversations), I like to pray aloud.  Somehow it feels strange to start speaking--why is that?  I don't know, but I think it's like Satan trying to bind my tongue and maybe my heart.  Then I finally begin to speak, and little by little it becomes just a conversation. On my part, it's not pretty and flowery.  My language is still "thee" and "thine", but my thank yous are "Thank You"s and I say things like, "I don't really know!" and I find myself almost begging for things.  I'm not begging for houses or cars or jobs; I'm usually begging for the ability to forgive or to understand or for faith or for Him to watch over the people I love or to tell me what choice I should make.  I tell him about my friends' and family members' predicaments, and I ask Him to give them what they need. 

Invariably, I weep when I pray aloud.  I think that's because of God's side of the conversation.  I always feel loved.  I feel heard.  I don't feel dumb for the things I worry about, even when I know they are dumb.  Sometimes I have a very clear thought come to me about someone I should call or something I can do for someone or something I need to do.  Sometimes my to-do list is something big, but usually it is some tiny little thing like "Get tomorrow's lunch ready" or "You should review your Primary lesson."  It's funny how those tiny little things that are really no big deal feel like a really big deal when you know that Someone who loves you and is listening to you is willing to remind you to do something.

Pray. He is there.  Speak.  He is listening.
You are His child.  His love now surrounds you.
He hears your prayer.  He loves His children;
Of such is the kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven.


Kim and Preston said...

Thank you Aundrea for your faithful testimony of prayer. You always know just what I need. I cannot wait to go home today to have a much needed conversation with our loveing Heavenly Father. Thank you!