Monday, December 05, 2011

An Exercise in Prayer


All parents hope for the best and dream big dreams for their kids. I'm certain that based on the aptitudes he has already shown, Kai has the talent and ability to be a philosopher, writer, actor, scientist, super hero, chef, geologist, and engineer. All at the same time. 

However, based on his sleep patterns, he's undoubtedly going to be a farmer. This kid has the inability to sleep in. And as such, it has caused me and Ashley no small amount of frustration and short tempers with each other due to our sleep deprivation, physical, mental and emotional exhaustion during the day, and has created some of the most amazing dark circles, wrinkles and grey hair on me. 

As part of our attempt the keep this monster corralled during the still-dark-hours of the morning, we put a baby gate up leading into his room so that he can't escape and go eat an entire box of Special K while waiting on us to rouse from the dead. But because this is a new and - as I can surmise from the amount of tears he sheds - traumatic experience for him, we take turns sitting outside the gate for a while to reassure him that mommy and daddy have not defected to North Korea and left him all alone. During my last turn at Kaisitting, I took the opportunity to sit on the floor in the dark and quiet and just...be. Still. Relaxed(ish). 

I think the last time I did this was in 2007. In Athens. 

And while I was sitting there, I decided to take the opportunity to actually pray. 

Now, I have to confess: I'm one of those "pray without ceasing" kind of people who prays to God in 140 characters or less while on the go. I rarely if ever take time to sit and bask in the stillness of life, despite how much I know that it grounds me and connects me. I rarely if ever have any consistency about letting myself hear something other than the sound of my own voice echoing in my prayers. I do hear/feel nudges of conviction and moments of the Spirit moving in and through me, but taking time to reflect and meditate feels as much a luxury to me as buying non-generic label groceries would be.

But this morning, I was reminded how physical our prayer life can and should be. There is nothing in the world wrong with having a continual dialogue with God, but we should not do so at the expense of taking time to ground and connect with - well, the ground. We are both physical and spiritual in nature, and as such, we should feed both portions in our prayer and faith life. Because to be honest, while I was sitting there letting myself just be, I felt more in tune with God than I do when I offer up my half-prayers throughout the day. And this practice of intentional meditation (on Scripture), intentional quiet, and intentional listening is something I need to do a lot more of. 

And next time, maybe I can do more than JUST pray that Kai would go back to sleep.

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