Today’s Word from Pastor Tom Kidd…
On one of my better days, the girls and I will go down to the beach for sunrise prayers. But to be quite honest, often my prayer life sucks. I’m supposed to be a professional pray-er and there are days that go by and it dawns on me that I haven’t spent two minutes in prayer. What if the world spins oﬀ its axis and everyone goes crashing into the ceiling because I have decided that rather than pray it was more valuable for me to obsess over what a golf swing should look like, or if I have really pruned that rose correctly? See? I am just not being a responsible enough pray-er. I’m a trained professional holy-man for goodness’ sake.
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with a name and a diagnosis on my heart and the best I can oﬀer is, “Lord, you are up tonight anyway, so could you please show up with a little mercy? Please?” And I roll over. Ugh. The world deserves better and I am not being responsible enough with my prayer life. You know how in baseball there is a designated hitter (American League)? Well, Lucille used to be my designated pray-er. Her life, then basically restricted to a four-bed nursing room, was filled with purpose as she would receive my prayer list with relish, “Thank you Pastor.” This little apple dumpling of a Swedish saint would assail the gates of Heaven with joy, seeking to intercede on behalf of a sister or brother in need. To put it crassly, with Lucille praying my prayer list I believed I could faithfully check the “prayer box” for the day. I always felt safer knowing Lucille was out there praying.
Whether a designated hitter or a designated pray-er, sometimes it’s best to let someone who does it better do it. Or so I told myself. When Lucille died, I felt a little abandoned, professionally. Like when I left seminary and realized I was responsible, all by myself, to write a sermon. Weekly. Sugar! To borrow one last baseball analogy, my greatest fear has always been sending my mouth to the batter’s box while my brain yet remained in the on-deck circle. Sermons or praying, it didn’t matter. I always welcomed company and appreciated the gifts of the other.
Journaling helped my prayer life. I begin by asking God to bless the words that would emerge from my pen. Writing helped me focus on the needs of others. Writing became a regular means of expressing my prayer life.
I think St. Paul had his own struggles with prayer as well. But he found great consolation in the knowledge that the Spirit would carry his yearnings before God’s throne of grace.
“… the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows
the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” Romans 8:26-27
I suspect many of us have been a victim of the tyranny of numbers. In golf or bowling you have to write down your score. In baseball there is a box score. The list goes on; you have to have a score. Right? I hate keeping score. It’s the tyranny of numbers. I find it even more disdainful that somewhere along the line (Bill Gothard, “Basic Youth Conflicts”?), I was told that God was sitting in his bookkeeping oﬃce keeping score of our sins. Yikes! Somewhere that old transactional notion of God seeped into my universe because to this day, praying can sometimes feel like a task to work oﬀ demerits as opposed to the gift of God’s presence. I know; sad.
There is only “one” number that matters, to quote Hebrews 10:10…
“… we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
For that I do daily oﬀer a prayer of thanksgiving. As well as the periodic prayer asking for the blessing of Lucille’s memory. I really miss her.
Stay safe, keep me (and my girls) in your prayers; it helps.