A while back I posited that, perhaps, prayer can be more than talking to your ceiling or with the little voice inside your head. Essentially, prayer is making yourself open and available for communication with God. The same way we can hold a conversation with a friend while eating dinner or going for a walk or watching a movie, we can communicate with God in a number of ways. Praying could be writing a blog post, doing yoga, eating a good meal, painting, having conversation with a friend or sharing a cigarette with a stranger.
In the context of my life, writing a blog two times a week ensured that at some point I was praying. I was waiting, writing, listening, and responding. Regardless of whatever was going on in my life, I knew that at least twice throughout the week I would be forced to sit down and interact with God if I had any chance of saying something remotely meaningful. These interactions sustained me, even as I found the desire to whisper my prayers in the darkness of my bedroom waning. For me, the act of blogging became my prayer. When I write, I’m not just concocting sentences; I’m listening to my heart and discovering what I believe and telling myself about it just as much as I’m telling you.
As a result, HfG is a record of the journey I’ve gone on. Back in 2010 I was a vaguely left-leaning Evangelical who was still bound by chains of guilt and inadequacy that had been forged during my time in the church. Four years later I’ve become a smart car driving, organic eating, local shopping liberal who feels a little uneasy calling himself a Christian when the most public examples are people who make my blood boil. This transformation didn’t occur overnight; it came blog post by blog post as I took the thoughts that fed my spirit with me and abandoned the rest.
So, now I’m posting only once a week. And not even consistently; I have contributors who have words you need to see also. As I write these words, it is going on two weeks since I last sat down to write a blog post, and in the time since I’ve become aware of an emptiness; a vacancy in my soul. Despite feeling that sensation on the fringe edges of my psyche for days, I’ve only just recognized it for what it truly is: I’ve stopped praying.
It used to be built into my week. Blogging had become like a habit, or possibly, a tic. It was just something I did. Now that I’m doing it less, a vacuum has been created. In order for my relationship with God to progress, I need to find a new way to pray. Sure, I can always kick it old school and mutter words in God’s direction, but I prefer prayer to be more participatory. Fortunately, there are plenty of options.
One of the oldest epiphanies I still talk about is that Everything is Worship. I took a step away from the blog so I could focus on my creative pursuits. That sounds like a fine place to begin my search for God. The trick is that even though I’ve spent years talking about how everything can be worship, it’s still hard to do. Worshiping God requires our best efforts. Our intentions. Most of the time, when I start a holy endeavor, it devolves into an ordinary task within minutes because I just forget to bring God into the equation. I start trying to dedicate a drawing or a paragraph to him, and moments later all I’m doing is doodling or making a grocery list.
I think this is the bridge God has been leading me to in order to see if we can cross it. If I can start being more mindful of the fact that what I’m doing isn’t for me, or even for you, dear reader, but for God… I think that’s somewhere I’d like to be.