Being Prayerful

“Whenever, in the course of the daily hunt, the hunter comes upon a scene that is strikingly beautiful, or sublime—a black thundercloud with the rainbow’s glowing arch above the mountain, a white waterfall in the heart of a green gorge, a vast prairie tinged with the blood-red of the sunset—he pauses for an instant in the attitude of worship. He sees no need for setting apart one day in seven as a holy day, because to him all days are God’s days.”

                                                            ~Charles Alexander Eastman (Ohiyesa)

                                                                                                          Santee Sioux

 Last week, Pastor Reggie spoke briefly about prayer, and prayerfulness. The subject has stayed with me, all week, but I wasn’t really sure how to organize my thoughts on the subject. It seemed somehow “incomplete” to go more into detail about our instructions from the Lord on how to pray, when the subject I really wanted to talk about was how to live with an attitude of prayer.

It is something that I strive for (often successfully) in my own life, but I wasn’t sure I could explain how it is done. And then I read the quotation from Ohiyesa.

Clearly, the Native Americans were not Christians. They were, for the most part however, very spiritual in the sense that they recognized all things as being a gift from God. This is something that I have touched on in the past, although not directly (“GOD MADE THE BROWNIES,” from an earlier post, comes to mind here), but there’s more to it than just the material things that He has provided each of us in our own lives as individuals. How many things has God provided, that we take for granted?


Last night’s rain?

Breakfast this morning, and the coffee that is keeping me from doing a face-plant into this keyboard?

How about the air we breathe, the trees and green plants that keep that air clean, and the outrageously creative and complex system of sun/water/land that keeps the air moving across the earth?

When was the last time you stood in your driveway, watching dusk turn from red-gold to indigo, and just thanked God for the beauty of that few minutes of the day?

It is a tough thing to do. We get wrapped up in our daily routines, we get distracted by the needs of the day, our families, our pets… the oil in the car needs changing. The laundry needs done (that reminds me…).

Did you thank God for the companionship of a good dog, or cat? Or did you stop for a moment and consider the way that your oil came to be? Did you thank God for your wife/husband/mother/father/children? I don’t mean to ask if you said, “God, thank You for my blessings, for my family, for…” in the same manner that we say grace over dinner. I catch myself doing it all the time, trying to knock out the “routine” parts of my devotional time—like thanking God for the blessings that are always there—so that I can get to the meat of my prayer time. Stuff like the check that serendipitously appeared in my mailbox, or the rash going away (don’t ask), or just to ask Him for more stuff.

All that stuff is cool, and we should be thankful for it. But that oxygen stuff? Well, it’s a pretty big deal too.

Do me a favor, and try this exercise. Sit down in a somewhat quiet place (to those of you with toddlers, try… I got nothin’. Good luck) and make a list of the things that you have for which you can be thankful. Shoot for a minimum of ten, but don’t stop until the pencil is too short to hold on to. Remember that no blessing is too small (do you throw away a card from your child, because there is no Lamborghini inside?) and none too large (because honestly, if there was a Lamborghini involved I’d keep it). Every night, or whenever you do your devotional time, pull out that list, pick two or three items, and make a special effort to recognize those blessings, and to thank the Lord for the love He has shown by giving these things to us. Recognize the fact that everything is a blessing, starting with your conception, and ending in this very moment, as you sit there reading this blog (which may or may not be a blessing, depending on your personal feelings about me).

God loves us all. God provides for us even when we think He has forgotten us completely. In our most corrupt moments, we still breathe and laugh and feel… Sunday is a day to worship with the brothers and sisters.

Every day is a day to worship the Lord.

I thank God for all of you. Be well, be blessed, and I’ll see you again, soon.