What is Prayer?

During these months of worry and my physical discomfort my wife has started a practice. She will come into my office and just sit there. Her goal, just to be near me or hoping a conversation develops. She knows I am working on the computer so she will come, sit near to me and wait. I will look over my shoulder a couple of times and finally say “Yes dear?” (Usually not those words but close enough). Soon enough, I am off the computer and we are chatting away about life routines and how I am doing. A few days ago an idea popped into my head, what she is doing in those actions is prayer.

Prayer is when we make time out of our day to go sit in the throne room of God just in hopes to have a conversation. Sometimes it feels like I sit there as God is busy with universal events. So I wait. Then He turns his attention to me and there is a feeling of comfort and communication. Yet other times I am greeted with “Where have you been? I’ve been waiting for you.” Then we talk about life routines and how I am doing.

I can only imagine if my wife walked into my office, handed me a list of ‘honey do’s’ and then walked out. How many times have I done that with my God? After the brief “God glorifying” salutations, and the brief admission of sin, I hand God my list and turn around to leave with an Amen. God has the paper and asks me “Let’s talk about these.” “Sorry God, I’m busy. You got the list that is important to me, shouldn’t you be working on it rather than talking?”

My prayer life has changed as I have gotten older and farther away from the corporate training which I received. Just like a good marriage. You try to follow books and advice but they only take you so far. Sooner or later you find out that you and your wife are unique and the books are just the basics. An example were the early prayers for someone I cared for and their salvation. I would pray “God save Steve” and then a few reasons why He should. God’s response usually is “So do I.” What was I really asking God to do? Now, when I pray I say “God, how is Steve today?” and wait for Him to answer. Inevitably something will come into my mind about Steve. Our conversation has begun. From this conversation comes my marching orders. Something particular I can do to be used by God to reach Steve. It is no longer a honey-do list, it is a team collaboration.

Prayer is getting to the heart of the other individual. Go quietly to the throne room and sit there. If God does not answer immediately, contemplate the being of God as you look at him busily working. As of now I am looking over my shoulder and see my wife quietly waiting to talk.

We have chickens

Since my wife and I have moved into a very rural part of Idaho we have decided to raise chickens. In these three years of outdoor living we have probably had over 30 different chickens and currently raised 15 chickens since they were hatchlings. This will relate to my thoughts upon God.

What I have noticed about our chickens is that they cannot see all of me at one time. When standing straight they see my legs. Then they will cock their heads and see my torso. If I stoop down then I probably look like a little ball to them. But one thing they all know is my voice. They know the familiar “Here chick, chick, chicks” and come running. They run, as only chickens can, because they know something good is coming to them from my hands. Their favorites are corn and melons. Nothing better than a good cantaloupe on a hot summer day.

I am sure that the chickens think that I think just like them. When I walk out that front door you can hear their disappointment when I turn toward the shop instead of the garage where the food is kept. Why would you do anything else but feed us, aren’t you hungry as well? They love it when I hang out with them. But the problem is that a few moments after I sit down and start talking, off they go picking and foraging for insects. A chickens attention span isn’t that great!

I do not feel bad when the chickens run in fear either. They are chickens. Like when I stand up too fast and they jump away. When there are perceived threats from the sky – off to the bushes they go. It is not like I have left them unprotected and not ready to defend them, they respond by instinct, so why would I get mad.

One of the joys of having a lot of chickens is that they follow me around while I am working. There is a lot of trust in a chicken I have found. When I am riding my lawn mower, they will stand there and wait for me to pass, then move in behind me to catch the bugs my mowing had stirred up. Or when digging holes or building something, they are there. There are a lot of lessons in chickens.

When I think about my relationship with my Lord, I definitely am a chicken. Can’t see all of him (heck, even Moses was only able to see the backside of God) so I am content looking at his ankles knowing that He is far taller than what I see. I know that He enjoys the way that I run in all my “masculinity” even though I am a chicken. I run away from Him at the drop of a perceived fear, when He stands up and shows His strength or I look around the world and think there is no outside control. I want to understand Him, but I can’t. His ways are much higher than mine. I want to believe that He thinks like a chicken like me but He doesn’t. I need to remember, I am part of my owners life – His life does not revolve around me. I do love following God around though but I must admit sometimes I am afraid of His work. He may be digging a big hole around me, and I know He sees me (I can see my chickens and won’t harm them) but then I jump back because I am not used to such great power.

One of the things I appreciate about God’s heart is found in David’s words “He remembers that they were but flesh, a breath that passes away and does not come again.” Yes, He knows my weaknesses but He also knows my love for Him. I don’t trust as I should but given my chicken heart, I trust as I can. Our lives our short, but we are a point in time for histories record keeping and to be recalled by someone still living. Let us make them count. Like my chickens, I may not understand everything or have a lions heart, but I can be the best darn chicken in the flock.