Sitting around can get you down, and I’ve had to do a lot of sitting around lately. I’ve been on the road for what seems like forever and I’m feeling terribly lonely. So I went for a walk to see if I could rid myself of the poisonous thoughts I was having.
As I walked I came across a little shop with the sign, “Free Prayer,”that really got me to thinking. Unfortunately, the place was closed or I may have stopped in. But I wonder, what I would say? I doubt I would be able to say much at all without sobbing. What would I want another to pray about for me?
- Perhaps, that I could go home. Not just for a couple days, but a long time. Maybe I could live there like normal people. I could sleep in the same bed with my wife and go for a walk in the woods with my dog. I could get up in the morning and go to work a couple hours and then return home again.
- Maybe someone could pray that I could find a job that made enough money to pay the bills and allow my family to stay together without having to move again. Maybe even a job that I could enjoy doing that I felt was purposeful and fulfilling.
- Maybe someone could pray that I gain the inner peace to get over myself and realize all the blessings I have and some how discover happiness and peace in my current existence.
But why do I need anybody to pray for me? Don’t I enjoy the same access to God as anyone else? I can pray, and I do pray. So why am I drawn to a sign like this? Perhaps, what I need more than prayer is some one who cares. Someone I can pour my thoughts out to even if they be a stranger. Someone who will listen, sympathize, and just be there. It may sound silly, but I can’t tell you how badly I miss just having somebody give me a hug. My family seems to hug so naturally, I’m not even sure we know we do it. Even my dog. He can’t hug like humans, but he hugs just the same. But trucker’s don’t hug. EVER!!! At least I’ve never seen it. Maybe that is why they are so angry all the time.
Truth is I’m blessed with lots of people in my life who care. They are sprinkled all over the country. Plus, I meet new people once in a while. I visited a church last Sunday, and a man sat down with me for about an hour and just talked. He’ll probably never know how much that meant to me. But it is these people who really make being gone bearable.
My wife started a little prayer request thing on Facebook. All sorts of people chime in with request. Over the years, I’ve prayed for all kinds of people with all kinds of request from praying for someone who wanted a faithful spouse to somebody who stubbed his toe. Ironically, I am convinced that people will ask others to pray for them for request that they don’t pray for themselves. Why? There again, I think what we are really asking for is somebody who cares and shares our burden.
Prayer isn’t about getting what we want. Our troubles are not likely to go away. People still get sick, suffer, and die. But when there are people who care, it seems to make all the difference. Isn’t that why we pray in the first place? If you believe in an omniscient God, surely he already knows what your needs are before you pray for them. So why bother? Because it is our desire for a creator that cares about us and what we go through. Sometimes it may not feel like it, but that is our hope.
I love the sincerity and genuineness expressed in a song by Rich Mullins called “Hard to God.” Rich Mullins was much different than any other Christian artist I know of today. He wrote songs much like David wrote songs. Both wrote songs that expressed doubt, agitation, fear, confusions, and despair. You won’t find songs like that in your modern day hymnal, but you will find many in the book of Psalms. You will also find them on CD’s by Rich Mullins. If we’re are honest with ourselves, I think God does come across as “Hard to Get.” But that should not stop of from trusting him and loving him.
Hard to Get
You who live in Heaven
Hear the prayers of those of us who live on earth
Who are afraid of being left by those we love
And who get hardened by the hurt
Do you remember when You lived down here?
Where we all scrape to find the faith to ask for daily bread
Did You forget about us after You had flown away?
Well I memorized every word You said
Still I’m so scared, I’m holding my breath
While You’re up there just playing hard to get
You who live in radiance
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in skin
We have a love that’s not as patient as Yours was
Still we do love now and then
Did You ever know loneliness, did You ever know need?
Do You remember just how long a night can get?
When You were barely holding on and Your friends fall asleep
And don’t see the blood that’s running in Your sweat
Will those who mourn be left uncomforted
While You’re up there just playing hard to get?
And I know You bore our sorrows
And I know You feel our pain
And I know it would not hurt any less
Even if it could be explained
And I know that I am only lashing out
At the One who loves me most
And after I figured this, somehow
All I really need to know
Is if You who live in eternity
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in time
We can’t see what’s ahead
And we can not get free of what we’ve left behind
I’m reeling from these voices that keep screaming in my ears
All the words of shame and doubt, blame and regret
I can’t see how You’re leading me unless You’ve led me here
Where I’m lost enough to let myself be led
And so You’ve been here all along I guess
It’s just Your ways and You are just plain hard to get
The message behind prayer is care. And we all desperately need care. I don’t know who put up the sign, but I’m mighty glad for a person who is willing to listen and pray for a stranger. One of the things I miss the most since I started making a living on the road is my church family. I think people are confused about the church in that they think church is about coming on Sunday morning and going through some ritualistic practices. That is not church. I will have to save that subject for another post, but for now I just want to say church is community. You won’t get community by walking in sitting down, singing, listening and walking out. With such a concept of church there is little doubt why so many people think the church is irrelevant.
On the other hand, when you discover and become part of the community which is the church, there is something so beautiful in the midst of all the imperfections. Since, I’ve had to be gone so much, that element has been stripped from my life. I can visit lots of churches and worship there, but I will remain an outsider. Community, after all, takes time. I miss home, I miss my family, and I miss being a part of a church family.