If I was going to pray to You off the top of my head, without the benefit of the Book of Common Prayer, I might talk about things that are too hard to mention, they are too painful, and You already know about them. Plus, in all the years I did pray about them, You were either asleep at the switch, or Your answer was “No,” an answer of great cruelty. I won’t pray to You about them any more.
I might talk about the things that I am Still Not Over. You know all about them.
I might talk about situations I can do nothing to change, that You also do nothing to change. I would end up more angry than I already am.
I might mention people by name, and their frustrating, piteous, or tragic troubles, but they are Your children, You are well aware of them.
What good is it to ramble on in prayer as if You didn’t already know! What is it for!
There is one kind of extemporaneous prayer I have no trouble with. I’m barely aware of it. It comes from somewhere that seems untouched by anger. I look out my window at the bare trees, the beauty takes my breath away, and I think — I breathe — Thank You. I think about my parents’ relatively easy deaths, and I say Thank You. And then, most of all, because I am nothing if not true to cliché, I sit in my eccentric-single-lady house, in my shredded chair, with my beloved remorseless destroyer of upholstery sprawled across my legs, radiating warmth, purring like a motor, and drooling on my knee; I gaze at that innocent little life, and I say Thank You Thank You Thank You.
That is the only freestyle prayer that comes naturally to me. That’s what You get from me. It seems so strange; it is such a contradiction; but it always comes easily.
December 27, 2020 COVID-19 Infections and Deaths