How do you pray?
I looked at today’s Gospel reading this morning and it’s the one where Jesus is teaching his disciples to pray (the Our Father makes an appearance in this one). I was struck instantly by some words early on in the passage when Jesus says “do not babble…” There is obviously more to that line, but babbling is exactly what I seem to do lately when I pray. But is that so bad?
I pray in a lot of different ways, but I have been trying recently to speak to God before my feet hit the floor in the mornings. This is where the babbling comes in… I’m not fully awake yet, and so sometimes my train of thought deviates into last night’s dream or even nonsense before I get back on track. This morning I did about five minutes of babbling surrounding one simple direct ask I had for God. To be honest, I’m not even sure how the prayer began or ended. But it did happen.
Despite its nonsensical nature, I’m hopeful God was happy to hear from me anyway and got the gist of what I had to say. Later in today’s Gospel, Jesus says “Your Father knows what you need before you ask…” This line is so comforting because maybe God is able to make sense of my babble and sleepy talk even if I can not.
It seems once my feet do hit the floor each morning, the time for quiet prayer is gone. So, I’ve got to at least try, right?
As I’ve said before, I also pray through writing these daily reflections. Some mornings, I feel like all I am doing is placing nonsensical babble out into the world. It’s always those mornings, however, that I’m surprised to discover that my words made sense to someone and helped their day a little in the end.
So maybe babbling is not the best way… but often it is a start that can lead somewhere in the end.
So today, don’t worry if you don’t make perfect sense or if you get some things wrong or if you find yourself babbling a little. It may be messy but it’ll definitely be real. And it’ll be a step toward building something even better.