My youngest daughter is away at camp this week, so I get lots of one-on-one time with my oldest daughter. I’m grateful. Yet, while my youngest daughter is more like me – introverted, liking quiet, slow moments – my oldest daughter is the opposite. She likes to go and do and talk every waking minute. And since her little sister isn’t home to field some of her words, I am the catcher of all of them.
And there are a lot.
I believe it was question 1,823 that she posed on Monday: Who were your good friends growing up? I started down a bit of a rabbit hole thinking about relationships of old and new. Elementary school playmates. Middle school frenemies. High school boyfriends. College roommates. Wedding attendants. And current friends. They have all changed over the years. It’s not that I don’t keep in contact with any of them (thank you, Facebook). And it’s not that I don’t still care deeply for them. It’s just that whole talking thing that gets me. Apparently, you need to talk to keep up relationships.
I went to a Christian college, so all things spiritual and Biblical were hot topics. One evening I passed by a group of girls on our dorm floor who were talking about prayer and its importance. I remember listening for a while then saying something like … Why should I pray? I mean, God already has in mind what He’s going to do. Any words that I say won’t change it.
A couple of horrified looks told me I had gone too far. You see, my level of spiritual maturity at the time was at a 1.0. While I still have a lifetime ahead of me of maturation, I have at least realized one should not equate prayer with a vending machine. Press B-13 for a job promotion. Press E-1 for cured cancer. Press A-3 for a husband … though I’m pretty sure some of the girls on my floor were pressing A-3 daily. I’ve learned that prayer is so much more than a request. It’s talking. Communicating. Building and maintaining a relationship.
Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays. – Soren Kierkegaard
Since “talking” is not my strong suit, I’ve struggled with prayer over the years. I believed that if I wasn’t on my knees, hands folded, using the pattern of the Lord’s Prayer – praise, commitment, petition, confession, deliverance – then it didn’t count as a prayer. And since the Bible says to pray continually, I felt I was failing continually, because who has time to be on their knees all day? It’s come to my attention it’s so much more than this. Yes, it’s a two-hour catching-up conversation over coffee, but it’s also a quick check-in text. It’s a long love letter or a sticky note blurb. It’s an awards ceremony or a quick fist bump. It can be many words or few. For me, my most intimate prayers come not from the words of my mouth but flow through the pen to the paper. He receives them all.
Never stop praying. – 1 Thessalonians 5:17
I hear some of you saying … But how do I speak to a Being that doesn’t “speak” back? You’re right, he doesn’t always speak back. Yet, often times he does. The Spirit guides your soul to peace upon sharing your worries. It guides you to wisdom upon asking questions. It always guides us to love in all matters. God will also speak to us by bringing to mind a passage of relevant scripture, through the words of a trusted friend, a good book, or the sermon of a pastor. He is faithful to interact with us when we move towards Him.
A study indicates that we replace half of our friends every 7 years. When I learned this, I texted a friend of mine telling her our time was up. We laughed and thought maybe we had a few more years in us. As I wandered around the rabbit hole on Monday talking to my daughter of friendships past and present, I realized how true this friendship-replacement assertion is. Certainly there can be fallouts, but other times a friend moves, or moves on. Differing life stages, interests, and activities can also pull friends apart. Isn’t it good to know in this ever-changing world that when we pray, there will always be a friend who listens?
For prayer is nothing else but being on terms of friendship with God. – St. Teresa of Avila