so i will preface this by asking that you don’t judge me. or at least try.
here’s the thing. sometimes, i can’t quite deal with the way people pray. yeah, yeah, take a second to gasp and be appalled and whatnot. i’ll be kanye shrugging until you’re done. seriously though, i’m not always annoyed. the majority of the time, i actually envy people’s style of prayer. i happen to be a person who is extremely conversational when it comes to praying. that doesn’t mean i’m like “what up doe, GOD?! myyyy niggaaaaa,” or cuss while i’m talking, but i really do converse with Him like i’m speaking to a normal person. that’s what i’m most comfortable with at this point in my walk, and frankly, it’s very effective.
i’ve let go of the idea that prayer has to be this perfectly constructed form of art, & if not flawlessly orated, it will somehow be rejected by God Above, accompanied by a bolt of lightning. but i can’t help but occasionally feel dejected when someone starts with “FAWTHA GODDD,” and ends with “in the MIGHTY, MATCHLESS, name of Your son Jesus we pray…AMEN-D, and AMEN-D” …and everyone feels the power of it. because i’m aware of the fact that my prayers start with “hey God”, or “deeeear Jesus”, like i’m still in vacation bible school somewhere. even though the truth is that i’m comfortable enough in my faith to have a minimalist style of prayer, the part of me that is a perfectionist keeps telling me that i’m doing it wrong.
but sometimes, i’m too distracted by the over-the-top–and sometimes downright ridiculous–styles of others to even be critical of my own. enter sunday mornings. for me, altar call is symbolic. a time to come forward and cast down your cares, and leave whatever is causing you hurt, sorrow, or stress there. and once you’ve prayed on your own, the pastor or deacon/deaconess then acts as an intercessor for you. it’s a powerful thing. but there are times that i feel that there’s an element of pastoral peacocking, as if an unspoken “most ballerest prayer ever” competition is taking place, to which the congregation is oblivious. i felt that way this past sunday. the altar call was one of the longest prayers i’ve witnessed in 22 years of attending church, and it was still low in my top 5. at a certain point, i was thinking look, wrap it up…He knows your heart, boo.
i’m sure i’m not the only one who’s been there, who has been secretly irked by a prayer that seems to need to cover all the ground in the WORLD: <preacher voice> “and thank you Jesus, for those little horses at meijer that only cost a penny to ride. they bring my children such joy. thank you for redbox. it’s much cheaper and more convenient than blockbuster. and THANK YA, Lord, for subway, and their tasty but moderately healthy food. make your presence known among the workers there, so that they can be the best sandwich artists possible, HALLE-LUUU-YAH. may they glorify Your name in the making of every six inch and footlong, Father God…” </preacher voice> like…word? WORD?! i’m not saying that every prayer needs to be short, sweet & to the point, because elongated ones do serve a divine purpose. but sometimes it’s just too much, man. especially when i’m standing at the altar for 20 minutes in stilettos, holding the hand of a seasoned saint with sweaty palms and a dizzying amount of cologne on. chalk it up to spiritual immaturity, but sometimes it just beez like that.
sorry Jesus, sorry church folk. #imjustsayin…