Where to begin?
I’ve been thinking a lot on prayer lately. Or is it: I’ve been thinking a lot of prayers lately.
In general, my prayer life can be divided equally between two prayers: “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you,” and “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” Or, in moments of sheer desperation simply, “Daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy.”
Recently it has been something different. Please. As in, “Oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please.” I find it scrawled on bits of paper and scheduled throughout my day planner. July 29: 7am: Please, oh please, oh please, oh please. Whispered during evensong in Oxford churches:
Priest: O Lord, open thou our lips.
People: And our mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
Emily: Please, please, please, please, please.
Someone asked me to pray for our journey and all I could think was, “Please, please, God, pleeease.” What do I say? “Sorry, prayer capacity full to overflowing.”
Not sure what for. (His will or mine?) Oh please, oh please.
And because wanting hurts and because desire can’t be — or isn’t — always satisfied, I thought for a long time it was better to just set it aside. To pray with the clause “If you want . . . ” appearing seven or eight times — in the first sentence. What if he says no? Worse, what if I’m wrong — and he says yes?
“Spitting in our faces is a uniquely human trait,” Red said once, to me or someone like me. “Sabotaging our disappointed hopes must be an impulse because we’d rather not have had the hopes if they didn’t work out.”
Now (I don’t know what happened) I’m more like the widow who kept coming. More like Jacob, who wrestled all night and didn’t let go till he got the blessing, even if it meant walking away crippled.
Better crippled by God than — well, just about anything.
“Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.” (Luke 18:7-8)