Before I start, let me just assure you of something. This is not a blog that will make you feel guilty about your prayer life. Trust me. I have no desire to make anyone feel guilty. That is a job best left to your own mother. In fact, I hesitate to even title this one “Prayer”. A better title would probably be “Several Probably Uninteresting Things That May or May Not Challenge Overly Religious Pharisaical Christians About My Prayer Life”, but I prefer one word titles. I have the illusion that they make me look cool and mysterious. Also, “Pharisaical” is really hard to spell.
Yes, I understand that I am in no way actually cool or mysterious, just let me live in my little fantasy world, okay?
The first challenging thing I will tell you is that I talk to God all the time. Now this may make you think Wow! That Snarky is so spiritual and devout!
I do not sit around and recite the Our Father 500 times a day. That would be mindless and I think God hears more than enough poetry. God loves poetry. He inspires tons of it. I just think it’s really challenging to have any type of a relationship with someone whose only relationship with you is randomly and mindlessly reciting poetry. Imagine if you best friend suddenly only started speaking to you using five poems. No other words, no new news, just those same five poems. You would drop them like a hot potato.
God will not drop you like a hot potato. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t crave real conversation with you.
When I talk to God I say things like “Oh, God! That is so awesome! How did you do that!” or “Ugh! He is so annoying! Why is he so annoying!” or a simple “What the hell, God?”.
Yeah, if that last one made you cringe, we may have some stuff to work on.
You see, you can’t hide anything from God. Not even your most “unholy” thoughts. Not even your “What the hell?”s. This really bothered me for a while. I hated sitting in church and thinking “Whoa! The Pastor is really hot! I can’t wait to get him home!” or “How slutty is that girl and why don’t her parents do anything about it?”. These thoughts didn’t really seem to bother me in other places, but in church, it made me a little uncomfortable.
Yes, I understand that this is called “being a hypocrite”. I am highly imperfect. You’d do well to get over it now. Or stop reading. Just kidding, keep reading! You might find a little nugget that you appreciate in here. Or you might find all the things necessary to have me commited. You just never know.
One day I wondered what would happen if I gave all of these thoughts to God. I tried it. I started by beginning each thought with “God,…”. This was not difficult for me as I already talked to God a lot. I would already yell at God when I was upset or angry, or laugh with Him when something amazing happened. I just hadn’t yet directed EVERY THOUGHT to Him.
Once I did that, even with the “bad” thoughts, I started to feel very free, and that’s pretty impressive because we were at a Baptist church at the time. (Just kidding, Baptists! You can be free too!) I also noticed that I no longer felt the urge to repeat the less honoring thoughts to other people. In other words, I had lost the urge to gossip.
By the way, you are not always appreciated in the church if you have no desire to gossip. You might want to consider that before turning all your thoughts over to God.
So anyway, I say things to God that would be super inappropriate for a pastor’s wife to say to most people. I haven’t been struck down by lightning. I wasn’t “left behind” in any rapture. As a matter of fact, it brought me even closer to Him. His responses became even more clear to me and far more frequent.
Wait Snarky, did you say ‘God’s responses’?
Um, yeah. About that.
When you talk to God, and I mean REALLY talk to God, without all of those Thee’s and Thou’s, and without saying “Just…Just…Just…” before every phrase, but talk to God the way you talk to your spouse or your best friend, He will start answering back.
I hear this can freak people out a little at first. I wouldn’t know about that. God has spoken to me for as long as I remember. I don’t usually tell people this because it seems like a pretty good way to earn yourself a ticket to the psychiatrists office. Also, some church leaders can get pretty angry when a snarky child in their congregation tells them that God says cheating on their wife and four kids with a teen aged girl from the congregation is going to cause their life to go into a tailspin. Angry enough that random snarky children learn to keep their mouths shut.
I assure you that God will talk back to you if you talk to Him in a real way. I will warn you, though, that He may tell you things that you do NOT want to hear. He may even tell you to DO things. After a while, He may even tell you to do things that don’t even make any sense.
Just the other day I was in church when God started talking to me. I always know when God is about to give me an instruction because I start crying. Not a pretty cry either, but an ugly face contorting cry. “Okay, Big Guy, what is it?” I asked
“You need to put your hand on the top of the spine of the man in front of you.” He said
“Umm, like now?”
“Oh I’m not going to do that.” I responded (because apparently I’m stupid like that) “That guy has horrible back problems which many known healers have prayed for without success. I am not going to be one more person to disappoint him. So there.”
I stood there smugly (AKA stupidly), knowing that I had done the right thing.
In case you are confused, I had not done the right thing.
Then God spoke to me again.
“PUT YOUR F-ING HAND ON THE TOP OF HIS SPINE!”
Except He used three letters in place of the dash.
Um, Snarky, that wasn’t God. God only speaks in King James version and the f-word isn’t in the King James Bible.
Here is the thing. The King James Bible was pretty controversial when it was published because it was published in the exact way people spoke at the time. When the super religious people of the time read it they said “This can’t be God! God only speaks in Latin!”
Here is some good news. God will always speak to you in the language you will hear Him best. He may speak to you in broken Spanglish. He may use secret words that you and your best friend invented. He may even use words that you don’t find very Godly. Some people even hear from God in pictures! I can almost promise you that it won’t be in KJV, unless you happen to be from the seventeenth century. Spoiler Alert: You are not from the seventeenth century. The point is, you will know it’s Him and you won’t be able to keep from hearing it.
I put my hand on the man’s back and I’m pretty sure his back was not even one bit healed. Later I realized that God never said I was going to be participating in the healing of anyone’s back. He just told me to put my hand on his back. He could have been doing something totally different. When I asked God what His purpose was in the whole thing He showed me ribs and then said that there were a lot of things going on in that moment. Some of them had to do with the man, others had to do with me.
“Let’s make a deal that you won’t make me use that word again. Deal?”
But I probably will make Him use that word again. Mostly because I’m stubborn and not very holy. Also I can be a little bit challenging without really trying. But you and God already knew that, and I know that I am deeply loved by at least one of the two of you.