Pray Like You Talk. Talk Like You Pray.
How to be.
Back when I was newish to this notion of pursuing reunion with the Creator, I began to wonder about prayer. Was it just a kind of thick wishing; full of detail and electric longing, uttered into the silence? The practices of prayer remain mysterious to this day, but way back then my buddy said something I’ve never forgotten:
“Look. Just pray like you talk. Simple stuff. Forget the impressive words. Just talk.”
That proved useful. It still makes sense to me today.
Prayer is an articulated event. A speech-act that causes things to happen out in the world—though not exactly the way you might hope. This is what people who pray believe (people like me): that by talking to the One who controls everything, laying out the case, and leaving it there, stuff starts to happen. Of course, dictation and demands are fruitless. So are bargains. Prayer doesn’t work that way—it’s not exactly a reciprocal relationship.
But what if my friend’s advice worked the other way too: what if that easy conversation full of detail and electric longing was a part of our daily, hum-drum human conversations? So rather than utter desire into silence we uttered it into relationship? That does not sound like wishing into the silence. People would be listening—the very people right around you. They would hear. And sympathize. Or challenge. You’d get known. Your peaks and valleys would be known. There would be no hiding. If our talk were like our prayer, there would be a measure of freedom, and a whole lot of assumptions about the level of interest in our conversation partner.
No. Now I see that would never work.
But. Wait—that characteristic of being known is a peak human experience. What if we were designed for that very thing?
That would be something.