Jenni entered the room and looked around in dismay. She could not believe her eyes. Samantha had done nothing to fix it in her absence, as they had agreed. “Samantha,” she called. Samantha came. “Hi. What’s up?” “What’s up?” Samantha retorted. “We agreed that you would clean and have everything ready by the time I returned. The guests start arriving in 30 minutes.” “I didn’t know what to do, where to start, so I left it alone until you got here,” Samantha replied.
Samantha had let her lack of “how to” knowledge bind her to the point of inactivity. Now Jenni was caught in a bind. There just was not enough time to get everything done, change, put out the food, and be ready when the guests came.
The lack of “how to” and inactivity
Have you every been there? Have you ever hit a point where because you didn’t know how to do something you left it alone, even though it was important? I know I have. Sometimes it’s pride and not wanting to look foolish and/or incompetent. Sometimes you’re waiting until someone can show you how to do it. You are sure that there is a particular way of doing it and only that way and until you can do it that way you will do nothing. This is linked to another reason—not wanting to do anything unless you can do it perfectly, aka the perfection syndrome. These and other reasons can bind you cause you to not act when you should and even when you could.
The lack of “how to” and prayer
The funny thing is, you can be like that with prayer. You’re not sure how to pray. Or, you know how to pray in general but not how to pray specific types of prayers. It could even happen when we talk about honest, surrendered, heart prayers. “What’s that?” you think to yourself and you shut down. Then there’s the whole matter of praying in public. You hear someone pray and think, “I could never pray like that. I don’t know how to,” so you don’t pray in public. Then there are some people who say, “Well what goes into praying everyday? I don’t have that much new going on in my life. What am I supposed to tell God?”
It’s God – Simply Show Up
All of these miss the point. Prayer is about God and not us, as privileged as we are to come before this sovereign God as children with a loving parent. All you need to do is show up and spend some time listening and speaking, in other words having a conversation. Focus your thoughts and spirits on God. Use a Psalm or two if that would help you. Use a guide like Daily SIPpers as a launching pad. Whatever you do, just show up.
Just as with a loved one you don’t always need to speak but just be in their presence, do that with God. And if all you have is one word, say the one word. God is hearing and listening. When it comes to praying in public? Well forget about pleasing the people around you. Just talk to God and seek to please God.
Don’t let your seeming lack of “how to” bind you as it did Samantha. Just keep showing up. Keep spending time with God. Keep praying.
Experience God more fully through honest, surrendered heart praying and live with greater clarity and peace.
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