Growing up, my family attended church at least three times a week; Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. At some point I stopped drawing on the church bulletin...filling in all the o's and p's, and started listening to the preacher. He always had stories to help illustrate the point of his sermon. I don't remember most of those stories, but one stuck with me, and completely changed the way I prayed.
It went something like this:
There was a guy who was washing windows...high up on scaffolding on a high rise building. Suddenly, the ropes on one side broke, the scaffolding dropped down, and the window washer tumbled off. As he was falling, head over heels, he began to pray.
"Please, God, Please. Save me!"
Suddenly, a flagpole attached to the side of the building snagged the loop on his painter's pants, and stopped his fall.
The man continued his prayer...
"Never mind, God. This flagpole's got me!"
I think the point of the story was to give God credit for the little things he does every day. And to thank him.
So I changed the way I prayed.
"Please, God, let me find my earring in my car." Then, "Thanks, God, for letting me find my earring."
"Please, God, when I turn this graded paper over, let there be a good grade."...
And yes, I even prayed for less selfish things...family or friends to recover from sickness, marriages to heal, people to drive safely, and for comfort for those who lose loved ones. And most of the time, I thanked God for listening to my prayers. I have this running dialogue with God, most of the time.
I've never felt comfortable when I see people in public places, making a big show of their prayers. Not that there's anything wrong with that...it's just not what I feel comfortable with. But I pray and talk to God constantly.
I'm kind of monopolizing His time right now. H is driving herself to and from school, and occasionally to a friend's house or to Panera to pick up lunch. She always calls us when she gets where she's going, and before she leaves to come home. This morning she left the house to drive to school...15 minutes away. It's an easy drive, but the first stop sign she comes to is at a notoriously dangerous intersection...there have been many car crashes there, because of an almost blind curve. Anyway, two minutes after she left this morning, the phone rang. J and I looked at each other, and he ran to the caller ID. It was H.
"PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE GOD. Let her be OK," kept running through my brain in the 15 seconds that it took for J to answer the phone, and then look at me and nod that everything was OK. She had pulled over to call because the GPS system was talking to her and she didn't know how to turn it off.
"THANK YOU, GOD."