Reflecting on Prayer….

School is out and I am thankful for quiet mornings, a chance to slow down rather than rush off. The days have been cool and clear, with picture perfect skies. There seem to be birds everywhere, birds you can hear singing even when you can’t see them. So I was drawn to this extraordinary photo by my friend Gailen, of two birds perched in a tree. You couldn’t ask for more of a contrast between these two birds. One seems to be angry, shouting at the other, with more than its open beak can hold. Yet what really got my attention was the other bird’s reaction. Rather than slinking away or hiding, the second bird is leaning forward, carefully listening to every word, regardless of the volume or tone of voice. How often do we shout out what we want, insisting that every detail is just so? We demand rather than ask, shut down rather than opening up, talk rather than listening. How we interact with others often carries over into how we offer our prayers to God. We scream to be heard, imagining God is so far away, or simply not listening. We expect God to slink off and hide, offering a human reaction to our anger and disappointment. Yet God is right there with us, as close as our next breath. God is vast beyond our imagining, powerful beyond belief. No matter how we feel or what we say, God can handle it, from you, from me, from all seven billion of us at the same time. Take time today to talk to God, without concern about your tone of voice or the words you use. Let go of what weighs down your soul and burdens your heart, trusting the Holy of Holies to comfort and guide you. Hang in there and work though it, like the Psalmist, starting out in a shout, then ending in song. And remember, through it all, God is eagerly listening, leaning toward you to hear every word. Text by Connie Chintall ©2012, Photo entitled ‘I’m Listening’ by Gailen Mapes ©2012, used with his permission


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