Welcome to today's Blog! You know the drill...if you haven't read Day 37 in "Why Pray?" yet -- please do so now. Our conversation will make much more sense! Over the years, I have learned some things about myself and how I communicate: I'm a thinker, a talker, a writer, an observer and a ponderer. I speak well in public, but I have no clue on how to use a microphone and I have more tics than I probably should. I really don't get excited at sporting events even if I enjoy watching them -- probably because it's hard for me to figure out what was just performed by whom on which team. I'm not much of a crier, a laugher, or a yeller, either. I have very little confidence in my singing voice, and I am pretty sure I have range of 4 notes. Maybe - but I don't know if they should be high or low. I don't even know how to whistle.
I'm just not a very demonstrative person. Now, put me in front of kids, and I will absolutely do almost anything to make a fool of myself, but only because they make the most amazing, appreciative audiences, and that is the language they often speak. It is completely worth it to see the kids "get it". For the most part, however, I'm a fairly reserved word person.
It is from this place - this knowledge about myself - where I became highly uncomfortable about the steps in today's reading. I'm betting you processed each step differently than I did -- for me the words Mr. DeVries wrote for #1 actually read as "Have the family stand in an uncomfortable circle in the living room. Use Psalm 145 as a outline to create a script for your family to pass around and read, taking turns at the appropriate stopping points. Discuss. Cue the CD to the preselected songs and play loud enough so that all are okay with not being heard as they sing the songs. Go to step #2." Yes, I didn't exactly "hear" what Mr. DeVries intended me to hear about "Exalting God" in step #1. As I kept reading, I kept feeling even worse - I can't do these steps! I even began to wonder if our family has even been seeking God right in the way or if these steps are required and they are how we MUST praise God in prayer. I became very sure that these steps couldn't, can't apply to us and how can I sing, I'm not a singer, and I don't even cheer loudly at games among thousands, how could I possibly cheer on God in a group of four, and.....so on.....
.....so I stopped right there. Processing today's reading suddenly became very uncomfortable, very personal, and very "no longer about this blog". So please forgive me if my writing is at all foggy.
I stopped right there and I prayed. I thought. I talked with God about what I was thinking, why I was uncomfortable, and why I couldn't "get" what Mr. DeVries was trying to say.
As I prayed, different moments came to mind - moments of spontaneous praise and discussion, moments of prayer and listening. Some examples are the four of us driving with the convertible top down, singing the Lord's Prayer part of "Manifesto" by the City Harmonic as loud as we could sing with the wind rushing by on the way to school. The way our family talks to God and about God each day as a member of the family, pointing out the good things He has done that day, or wondering what He's up to, or thanking Him, or asking for help.
I realized that we do pray in praise now -- it's just not as structured as Mr. DeVries is discussing in the book. And maybe that's okay. Maybe we're more of an unstructured "praise-prayer group" than a formal one. Maybe our level of expression is great and nothing more is necessary.
Or...maybe we are being stretched into something more than we already are now. Maybe we are (I am) being asked to look at the daily prayer life in our family and see it through different lenses. Maybe God is asking me to stretch beyond what I "know" about myself, and He's giving me the best support system for learning to be more demonstrative - my family.
"David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets. As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart. They brought the ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings[f] before the Lord. After he had finished sacrificingthe burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord Almighty. Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes.
When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!” David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.” (II Samuel 14-23)
This topic is definitely a work in progress for me....'I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.' ...I will be thinking about this a great deal more.
Please share below any thoughts, praises, struggles you might have with this week's topic.
And please send your stories of how your prayer life has changed and grown to email@example.com. We are all learning and growing on this journey, no matter how big or small you think your growth might be!