yesterday, i told you how much i really like my wife. well, apparently, i’m not the only one. wanda’s surgery has certainly brought to the surface a boat-load of friends, co-workers, and well-wishers you have passed on kind words and concern for wanda’s healthy and speedy recovery. it’s been very cool.
over the past few days, i’ve heard a couple of common phrases quite a few times: “make sure wanda knows she’s in our thoughts…” , or “tell wanda we’re thinking about her.” it’s a wonderful thing to know that people remember you… especially in times of difficulty and struggle.
it’s so easy to forget about people…to live our lives at such a pace or in such a way that we get absorbed in our own world so deeply that we don’t even see what others are going through…their pain or their fears or their journeys. i know it has been a great comfort wanda (and me, too) to know that people are remembering her right now.
but it’s also made me think of this: because of my chosen profession (or my calling from god, if you prefer), i am often the guy that people call when they (or their loved ones) get sick, go to the hospital, prepare for surgeries, face death, go through personal crisis…you name it.
i’m the “DP’er”…the designated prayer guy. i’m the guy that others expect to pray for group meals and to start or end meetings or times of trouble or when someone is getting ready to go in for surgery. i’m that guy.
but i’m not that guy because i think i am…far from it. i don’t see myself as any different than anyone else. but others see me that way…as if i’m a little closer to god…or that he might listen to me better…or that i have the number for “the priestly hot line”.
it’s like sometimes people aren’t really sure there’s a god or that their prayers will be ineffective, so they need to call the guy who is sure there’s a god…just in case.
don’t get me wrong. i love to pray for and with people during their difficult times. often, it’s just the opportunity to pray for friends…because we are friends. i don’t even need to be asked to do it. it’s honor. it’s a total privilege. it’s a conviction. there’s nothing more important. it’s the one part of my “job” that is never a burden or an inconvenience…even if people are misguided about who i really am!
but here’s where my mind is wandering this morning: what if all i did during my prayer was say “i’m thinking about you real hard right now. all my thoughts are centered on you. i’m concentrating all of my focus and all of psychic energy and all of my mind power and intellect totally on your situation. you’ve got my full and undivided attention.”…what?
no way. i don’t have all the answers about god. i never will. i definitely still have questions about prayer and how it works and whether we can influence god to change his mind or enter into human history (again) or what, exactly, the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective at doing.
yup. i’m still that guy …but has those questions.
but my questions don’t inhibit my faith, nor my conviction that prayer is all about focusing my heart and mind on god…his greatness and his power and his sovereignty and his kindness and his divine purpose.
when i pray, i’m not thinking about people, i’m thinking about god…and addressing him as the one who sees more and knows more that i ever will.
now that brings comfort.
the rambling is over.