unplanned prayer

by Kristen

Some days my prayers are thoughtfully constructed with great attention to each word and grammatical structure. They’re crafted. They’re deliberate.

And some days they’re no-holds-barred, heart-to-lips-do-not-pass-brain outpourings.

Today is one of those days.

They are thoughtless prayers. Not without care, but without thought. They come from my depths, not from my intellect. I’m not thinking. I’m praying.

I pray without planning to pray. The jumbled words and emotions and fragmentary phrases of petition and praise become one incessant prayer while I work, while I walk, while I carry on conversation, while I eat.

When life jars me and I’m powerless and vulnerable, my normal prayers never get off the ground. They’re completely overwhelmed by the instinctual, untrained, natural-as-breathing communication flowing to the very One who designed me to be in constant communion.

With a fragile but fighting heart I begin to grasp praying without ceasing. And it’s not some hyper-spiritual, haloed, so full-of-faith-nothing-can-touch-it thing. It’s not passive and removed from life. It’s active; it’s visceral.

I have a moment-by-moment awareness of my great need and great inadequacy comingled with unshakeable confidence that regardless of how my prayers are answered they are being attended to by the greatest physician, wisest counselor, strongest defender, ablest protector, tenderest comforter.

And unlike the days and prayers when I struggle to engage in the dialogue—when it feels more like I’m spouting a soliloquy to an audience of none that echoes back silence—on days like today there is a presence I cannot deny. I am heard. And while the answers are not audible, they are everywhere . . . in the snippets of scripture that come to mind, in the unexpected hug from a friend, in the peace that cradles my cracking heart.

So here I am. Spilling out my fractured, unedited self and words because there is no time—or need—for polish and perfection with the God who knows my thoughts more intimately than I ever will.

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