Praying with One Eye Open


These days, I am traveling on “a wing and prayer.” While the familiar adage speaks to poor travel conditions, it is all that I could find. The other options don’t fit in the overhead compartment and, of course, would be an additional fee. I fold my hands and open my mouth, “Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.” But, I also want to see. I want to see what’s up ahead, what God has in store, what’s going to happen next.

I confess that my prayers are offered with the hope of a preview, that my prayers would come back to me stamped with the places it has trekked. Because prayer is more than the mere movement of our lips. Instead, prayer is how our words travel from earth to heaven.

No passport and no security checkpoint; still, our words get to God’s ears. No delays, no gate mix up, our petitions and praises go from time to eternity. Short or long, in the neat packaging of thanksgiving or the ramblings of a worried heart, our prayers land every time.

Still, the maxim captures the way that I am seeing things these days. I am praying that my life’s witness and what burdens me most about our shared humanity is propelling me forward. But, things are happening so fast that sometimes, I don’t ask for direction. One open door after another, it would be impolite to not walk through it, right? Today, I look back and wonder if I am where I am supposed to be, doing what I am expected to do. “Is this the way that I should go?”

With or without a wing, our prayers will get to God, but not being able to see where they are going has proven more than I can bear. Words leave my lips and I know where I want them to go but cannot be certain if they take my flight plan with them. I know the answer that I want to hear before I pray. And if I am totally honest, I have mapped out the way that God should go. Because the steps of a good God are ordered by a Type A personality.

Persons fret over not knowing but for me, I need to see. God help me. Because if seeing is believing, then I am in trouble. Because “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). I confess that I am in distress. S.O.S.

I bow my head and fold my hands, but I am praying with one eye open.

Reverend Starlette Thomas* is an associate pastor at Village Baptist Church in Bowie, Maryland and 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 Her hobbies include reading, writing, and Starbucks.

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