The Praying Type

“I’m not the praying type.” This is what it boils down to when I ask some people about talking to God. These persons talk about prayer as if it is not for them. As if it’s a taste test, they gave it a try, but it really wasn’t that good for them. Like a gym membership. They gave it a chance and it just didn’t work out.

They don’t know what to say or where to begin. They don’t have a lot of experience with prayer and if they talk to God, it’s just going to come out all wrong. They’d better leave it to the professionals as it will save time. There are persons who are better at this dialogue with the Divine and way more experienced. After all, prayer isn’t for everybody, right?

Soup or salad, black or with cream and sugar, chicken or fish, we talk about prayer as if there’s another viable option. There is no either/or recipient in prayer. The Psalms are not written to God and anyone else who will listen. The prophets do not address their complaints to the people and to God when both are around and available. The people of God do not reach for the sky but to God in prayer. What other cosmic reality, celestial being, holy Other can we appeal to, cry out for, and talk through this life with? Do they know something that I don’t?

For some, it is as if I suggested they talk to a surgeon or a therapist. They look at me as if to say, “It’s not that bad. I don’t need to talk to God, yet. There’s still time and more that I can do. I’ve got options.” In this case, prayer is treated as a last resort, to be used in cases of emergency only.

Also, talking to God about our lives, what brings joy or concern, fear or hope is viewed as a choice among many. I can talk to God, my spouse, my best friend, or my parents. When all else fails, they will know just what to say. But, when their words fail them, who do we turn to in hopes of continuing the conversation? God, of course.

God keeps no favorites. We all have access to God’s ear. God is not picky and is not looking for the right words. Made in God’s image and to be in relationship with God, we are all the praying type.

Reverend Starlette Thomas* is the interim 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 www.racelessgospel.com. Her hobbies include reading, writing, and Starbucks.
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