Monday, May 31, 2010

Phoning Home

Sometimes I forget how young my children really are until I hear them on the phone. Suddenly their voices sound so small, and almost every time I find myself remembering that they are still just children. When I thought about it tonight it occurred to me that it may even be that way when they are my age, and I am in my seventies. I thought perhaps it is more than just their voices. Perhaps it is how they talk, what they consider to be important to a phone conversation, or just the fact that they are my kids. I do not know exactly. What I do know is that at this age it is quite adorable. For example, my youngest has this thing about passing the phone to the next person after he is done talking to me. He will tell me, as he is passing it to them, “They will be on riiiiiight noooow.” He says this as he presses his head next to theirs so that the phone is never away from someone’s ear long enough for the call to be lost (at least this is our best supposition). Then there is my daughter, who is already rehearsing for her early teens by practicing the art of the extended goodbye. It won’t be too long before we are hearing, “No, you hang up first!” emanating from under her bedroom door. My oldest son seems to be the most secure in talking on the phone, and displays a certain maturity, or at least a desirous emulation of it, when I talk to him. With each one of them though there is this gentle reminder; they’re still children.
This evening it caused me to think just a little further, and I found myself wondering what it sounds like when I call home to my Father. From my end of things I feel that I have a fairly decent grip on the whole prayer thing, even though consistency has always suffered, and I have even read a book or two about prayer and its practice. There has been prayer group participation, small group prayer times, and even the odd prayer on a mic from ‘the front’, and at no time did someone say, “Wow, you really belted it out, but maybe you should read up a bit more on this whole praying thing.” There have even been times when I have prayed for someone, and afterwards they said that God really spoke to them through the prayers. Hmmm. Those would be the times when I know it was God and not me. All that aside though, I still wonder, what does it sound like to the one who created heaven and earth? What does my little lost voice sound like in His courts? Scripture says our prayers smell good; like incense actually. What I have not come across is a description of what the prayers of the saints sound like.
If, in fact they sound like my kids do on the phone this would revolutionize my prayer life. Gone would be all those attempts at loftiness, and grandiose language. Where is there place for that kind of posturing when you are talking to your Father? Gone would be the endless contrivances meant to assure me that I have said the right thing, so that I will get what I have asked for. I know I appreciate it when my kids get to the point, and the little manipulations they try are actually rather annoying because I want them to know that I am approachable; that I love them. Gone would be so much of the physical posturing. Not all, mind you, just the song and dance kind of stuff. I have a really hard time seeing that impressing Him anyway. Gone would be my current sense of what it means to travail in prayer, replaced by a true wrestling with my Father. Anything short of that will simply look like whining from this perspective anyway, wouldn’t it? Wrestling with God is a time when we finally come to terms with His power, sovereignty, holiness, and love. Daddy gently powers us to the ground, and we submit; perhaps with beads of blood on our brow, but we submit. The imagery is not referenced lightly, because Jesus wrestled more mightily than anyone ever has, or will, and for a far greater request than any of us can fathom, and in the end He yielded to the Father.
All of this also leaves me with the question of what actually gets through to the throne, and what is left wriggling on the prayer room floor after we are done. Would I even recognize it from my old perspective or would I just think that all the sweat and effort was true soldiering for Christ and glory? Would I be nearly as impressed? If I truly saw things from this perspective would I perhaps laugh harder; and cry more sincerely? Would I leave with a sense of achievement, or understanding? Would I be threatened by that much boldness, and nakedness? Truly, much would change for me, if only I knew that I was a child.

1 comment:

Amrita said...

Beautiful post and photo Brad