Praying Room

Excuse me. I am going to need some wiggle room, a place to twist and turn, space to squirm under the hands of life’s circumstances. It is a tight squeeze. This is not a posture. Instead, my body drops to the ground. My knees aren’t bent but have buckled under the pressure.

I cannot get up, cannot lift my head up, cannot pick myself up.

Hands clasped in prayer feel bound now. I am tied down now. I am compelled to pray because what else is there to say? How can I get out of this apart from God? Who else can deliver me? And to whom else can I address my concerns? To whom am I most inclined to divulge my secrets, cry out in the darkness, moan and groan under the weight of a heavy heart?

It’s God’s way or there’s no way that I am getting out of this.

Sometimes, I am tempted to mumble under my breath, “I’ve got it.” Because if God is working all things for good, then God’s hands are in this messy mixture of life and death, hope and despair, faith and doubt, certainty and apathy (cf. Romans 8:28). And for some reason, no matter how much I stir around, it will not turn out as I have imagined in my mind, as I figure that it should. God’s hands are in it so God knows how it feels, and still, God doesn’t take the bad stuff out. Still, I am expected to believe that I will rise.

This is more than a chip on my shoulder. I am between a rock and a hard place. I am praying from a tomb, buried alive and too weak to move this boulder. Listening for an angel or two on the other side of this, I press my ear to the cool rock and hear voices. Or, maybe they’re in my head.

I suspect that they have come to leave flowers, which include a bit of baby’s breath. I am looking for cracks, hoping to feel the messenger’s breath and hear words like “I’m here” and “I’m going to get you out.”

It’s been a couple of days now and I hear nothing. Did God forget about me? Leave me here to die spiritually? But, do I even want to live anymore? I am glad that this tomb has a bit of room to pace the floor. I will need to weigh my options.

***

There are churches that offer opportunities to pray during the worship service. But, what if you can’t make it to church? What if you can’t move? Jesus said that his place would be a house of prayer (Matthew 21:13). I wonder how he feels about the prayer rooms that we have, fill with knee pads, prayer cards,

framed Scriptures, and a stack of new and unused Bibles.

These supplies don’t meet my demands. I certainly need more space. Life takes up more space. I need more praying room. Don’t you?

Reverend Starlette Thomas* is the Minister to Empower Congregations at the D.C. Baptist Convention. She writes on the social construct of race and the practice of faith at www.racelessgospel.com. Her hobbies include reading, writing, and Starbucks.

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