There are probably 7 (or so) people on the planet sufficiently discerning to appreciate the vocabulary of my prayers.
What is prayer? It is variously defined as “a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God…or an earnest hope or wish.” My prayers are forthright offerings to God. Often a plea, occasionally an anguish, sometimes a praise, in the words of modern psalmist Hezekiah Walker, my passionate prayers, at times beyond words and expressed as movement or tears, flow directly from my heart…”the issues of my heart.” More often than you might imagine for a good girl like me, they are unsuitable for Sunday School.
Prepare to be aghast unless you know me well; some of my prayers are
I do not take the Name of the Lord in vain; on this I am circumspect. I know whereof I was taught, and as a writer, I agonize over syntax and context and the rhythym of my language, in and out of prayer. It’s all prayer, isn’t it? If we see our lives as an ongoing conversation with the Holy One, doesn’t that mean it’s all sacred? While I am no poet, I am acutely aware of the pace and timing of language, and its capacity for profound urgency…and that is why for me, only the right word at the right time will do.
I am neither intent upon convincing nor converting, but science backs me up. According to a recent study, there is a direct correlation between verbal acuity and swearing fluency. I am more than capable of understanding why I do what I do.
swearing appears to be a feature of language that an articulate speaker can use in order to communicate with maximum effectiveness.
That means that when I offer a
prayer, I mean that ish.
For me, it all began with the Three Word Prayer. Born of my storms, born of my overlong season in the wilderness at the onset of my #Evolution, I learned this truth. When disaster strikes, I have no time for the extraneous. In the midst of crisis, I am not the girl to pull out a cell phone notifying people on my ICE list that my life is out of control and I might not be accessible for the foreseeable future. Maybe that’s you. When my ish gets real, when all I can manage is the next hour, far less the next 24 or 48, by reflex I eliminate EVERYTHING non-essential to exist solely upon what I need (which surprisingly, isn’t much). That, dear one, was the origin of my three-word prayers.
Being elemental, they are likely
three-word prayers are my ultimate confession. Born in the moment I conceded that if God knew my heart, I could stop being politic and get right to the heart of the matter (since He is the Heart of the Matter), I stripped it down. ALL THE WAY DOWN.
“I give up.” “Help me, Jesus.” “Really, God, REALLY?” Dear Lord,
The moment I embraced
prayer was the moment I was trusted myself to be real with God. That since He fostered my brokenness, waited patiently through all my failed attempts at total surrender, He could handle the honesty that both horrified and terrified me. If He was truly Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Everlasting, I was only wasting my own time. Furthermore, since He knew my thoughts, He already knew I knew all the bad words.
That began an evolution, and here is the reality. I swear far less than you might be led to believe and considerably less than I claim to–this is not for effect. It is, rather, a confession of my humanity, and a declaration that I am fallen, flawed, frail, and relentlessly LOVED (and so are you). I find myself so frustrated by the dearth of Grace practice by so-called Christians, that I’m inclined to profess my humanity on the regular. We are forgiven y’all, not perfect. (and you wonder why I wanna cuss?)
The Body of Christ is Broken, and I do not mean like bread. We’ve failed. We’ve fallen more in love with being set apart than being in love with the Gospel. We’re called to live and love, to minister through our own brokenness, not to disavow it, preferring to judge others out of a false sense of perfection that carries us away from the world instead of drawing us more deeply and desperately into it. The world needs our help. And we need Jesus. We’ve become so false that we don’t even like each other. What the
is that about??
This morning’s devotion was affirmation. Not only am I on my right path, I’m headed in a holy direction. In his own non-vulgar way, Jesus was
…Jesus was forever ruffling feathers for eating with the wrong people, enraging officials for healing at the wrong time, attracting the worst kind of attention for empowering the poor. And sometimes he was run out of town for putting the well-being of the marginalized ahead of the economic interests of their oppressors.
“In the world you will have trouble,” Jesus promised.
When considering how to most faithfully follow Jesus, perhaps the key question is not whether a particular course of action will cause controversy, but why we’re not already in trouble.
Prayer-Troublemaker Jesus, may our love for the least of these lead us into trouble. May our faithful actions get us thrown out of all the best places.”
May you never lift
prayers. May you never find yourself so imprisoned by hopelessness, at the end of the line, that the only thing you can do is cry out in coarse desperation to God. My
prayers are the most honest of my life. They erupt when I take off the mask I reserve for God, tearfully confessing that I’m still helpless, still hopeless, still not just broken but ground into dust AND unable to draw another breath except By His Grace and Mercy. They are the unfiltered moments when I am, naked and unashamed, myself. Imago Dei.
If they make me like Troublemaker Jesus,
if they make the notion of Grace a possibility for someone who could never envision it because my life declares, “Even me,”
then . I’ll never give them up. Amen.