Of Parsnips & Prayer

I like parsnips.

I know, I was surprised, too. I always associated parsnips with ancient, maiden ladies who "turned" their silks and have over-fed cats.

(Do you think it's obvious that I've filled several of my empty hours this week reading Victorian literature?)

Parsnips. With coconut butter. A little salt and pepper. Mmmm!

I would swear up and down that they're just like eating baked potatoes, but I'm afraid I'm slowly becoming one of those people who has been without junk food too long. You know those people. They toss you a bag of plantain chips and wonder out loud why anyone would want Pringles.

Seriously. Those people exist. They eat date "cookies" with unsweetened coconut and turn their noses up at Oreos.

I don't understand those people.

But I'm becoming one of them by force. When your diet restricts you to no grains, no sugar, no dairy, no potatoes... you start to go a little crazy. So if I ever push a date cookie your way, or declare that black bean brownies are "just as fudgey!" please ignore me. Or pity me. It's your choice.

I've also found that I like praying.

Everyone put on your holy faces, nod solemnly, and say, "Ahhh... me too."

But do you really?

I grew up around prayer. My mother is a ceaseless prayer warrior. She would pray for hours (it felt like!) every morning. Probably a large amount of those prayers were spent on me. I wouldn't be surprised.

When I became saved (at the tender age of three), I joined the ranks of those who can come "boldly before the throne of grace." And I did. Occasionally. When the day was really bad. Or my conscience pricked me about how long it had been since I had confessed. I got super-good at "shotgun" prayers. You know the ones: quick, little, rapid fire sentences that go up right as you need them.

"Help this to go well!"

"Please give me patience."

"Don't let that happen."

"Please let me get an 'A'!"

But I never spent even 10 minutes, consistently, on my knees.

Sickness changes that. I pray a lot when I'm sick. But in my fuzzy, sick mind, my prayers are largely repetitive and self-centered. God doesn't mind. But it's not exactly a recipe for a continued, deep prayer life.

The absence of prayer is rarely noticed by itself. No one wakes up feeling cranky and unholy and says, "You know, I bet this is because I haven't prayed!" No one wallows in shame, self-pity, and depression and thinks "I should probably just praise the God of the universe for half and hour." Confession, although a critical part of the Christian walk, appears to be left for quick moments of guilt or right before communion. "Shoot, I better make sure my heart is clean before I eat this!"

Recognizing that I didn't earnestly cultivate my relationship with God outside of my daily quiet time check-box, and suspecting that this lack of relationship was at the root of my shame, people-pleasing, and general God-loneliness/sin struggle, I came up with an idea.

I pray throughout the day.

No, like I stop and pray. Every day. Multiple times a day. I have alarms on my phone to remind me, but recently, I've taken to doing it without an alarm.

 

I put everything down. I stop any task. I turn off any noise. And I pray.

I have a time for adoration. Just adoration. I time where I don't thank God, instead, I just talk to him about Him. I focus on an attribute of Him that blows me away. Later comes my prayer of thanksgiving. And then a prayer of confession. And  because I'm human, there's usually a little bit of pleading or requests at the end of each of these prayers...

And my world has been rocked.

I daily meet with GOD. Face down on my kitchen floor, curled up on the couch, kneeling by a chair... I can talk with GOD. And He loves it! Do you know how I know that?

Because He comes pouring into my world at every turn. He's there in the patience not to snap at my children. He's there in my delight at the smell of clean laundry. He's faithfully there as I strive to be faithful. He places himself in my mind continually, and I love it!

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. {Jeremiah 33:3}

It's better than parsnips, even.