I had barely gotten settled in for the long flight, as the stewardess delivered our inflight meal. I opened the packages and was feeling grateful for the extra space and service. I bowed my head and whispered a simple prayer.
“Will that make it taste better?” The guy next to me barked. “Well,” not really sure he wanted an answer or not.
“You just prayed over your food, didn’t you?” he continued. “As a matter of fact I did,” I responded.
“I was just wondering if it helps or not, this stuff is never very good.” he snapped. “I don’t know,” I replied, “lets find out.” I took a bite and made a satisfying sound, as if to say it is amazing. “It did seem to work, at least for me.” I stated.
“Really,” he wasn’t buying it, “let me have a taste.”
Oh, come on man just let me eat my food, (did I say that or just think it.) “I tell you what, let’s pray over your food and then you can tell me if it works.” I thought that was brilliant.
Now a puzzled look came over his face, as he pondered his next words. He said nothing (snorted a little) looked back down at his food and stabbed it like he had to kill it first.
We sat beside each other, traveling close to four hundred miles an hour, at thirty-six thousand feet for several hours. He took a nap, I took a nap and a few hours latter is was time for our morning snack. Again, I went through my normal routine, silently, and proceeded to unwrapped the box of food.
“Are you really going to do that again?” a little softer than before. I nodded my head. “And you really think it matters?” Again I slowly nodded. Then came the big question,
“Why, why does it matter that you pray?”
There it was, the question behind the question. Why? Why do I pray? Why does anyone pray? I would like to tell you that I satisfied the guy in 4C, but I’m not sure I did, but I did give it my best shot, and he did listen. As we walked off the plane I prayed, “Lord give me better words to answer that question, Why do we pray?”
If you were to ask anyone this question I think you would get several answers. We pray when we are in trouble, when we need something really badly, or when we simply don’t know what else to do. Don’t we?
As time has pasted and as I have rehearsed this scene in my heart I have discovered a few things. First, prayer is really a way of living. It is a way of being. It seems that I am being carried along by prayer (or maybe I’m carrying prayer). I’m not always aware of it, not always consciously anyway, but “it” (prayer) is always with me.
Secondly, I’ve come to understand that many times my heart, my true self, is about half asleep and periodically must be woken up. I’ve observed that sometimes I’m not conscious of prayer, and then suddenly I see the flower, hear the bird, or His voice praying softly in my heart.
Third, I’ve had to become more sensitive to what I’ve already received. Rather than thinking of what I need, I’ve tried to focus on what I have. I have come to realize more often that He lives within and He is constantly praying. Deep inside there is One who brings to the surface the intercession that is constantly taking place. I’m constantly humbled by His persistent prayer in and over my life.
Why do I pray? Because He is praying and I must join in the chorus of His prayer.
Why do I pray? Because I’ve become conscious of what has been going on within.
Why do I pray? Because my heart if full of Him. And it overflows ….
I have prayed all kinds of ways. I’ve used as many forms and methods as I can discover. I have decided that each and every method of prayer has the same goal: to find our heart and wake it up. Jesus modeled the reality that “being awake” and “praying” go hand in hand.
When I’m awake, alert, aware of His Presence …. prayer seems to be a natural, normal state of being. A way of living. Prayer is much more than something I do at certain moments, but rather it is who I am.
Why do I pray? Because my heart has bee awakened to the Presence of the Lord who lives within my heart and soul. I dialogue with the One who created me to communicate with Him. To live, to be alive, to share in sweet conversation with the One who is fully Alive and who desires to share everything with us.
Why do I pray, because I am Alive …….