One of the things I like about nannying is getting to be a part of a different family, like when I went over to my middle school bff’s house, and they kept the bread in the fridge or they did time-out instead of go to your room.
More importantly, as a teenager, I remember listening to my friend talk to her parents. They never yelled at each other (!!!), even when my friend and her sister fought. It struck me that other people did things differently than I did. Now, I not only get to be a little family with Will where we try things out together like meal planning or having unplugged evenings or asking each other questions I got off a Today’s Letters, but I also get to be a part of little pookie’s family where they have different foods and different toys than the ones I grew up with. I guess that’s also what I like about blogs and reading about admirable people’s routines and just normal day-to-day life. It gives me a glimpse into another structure, another way of living.
yes, that’s a mirror
Prayer is one of those things that everyone does a little differently, I think. I say I think because I just don’t know. I have heard friends and pastors pray, but that has always been with them knowing I am listening. The closest I got to this was accidentally reading Will’s prayers from high school that I found in a book I thought had the credit card account password in it. When I told Will about it, he died. He didn’t want to laugh or read them over, he just wanted to shrivel up and never talk about it again. (I thought they were sweet, special prayers from his sweet, special heart.) They’re personal, you know? To the point of thinking, “How dare you tell me how to pray? This is me!”
That’s why when Prayer by Tim Keller started to talk about how to pray, I was both excited and apprehensive. I’m excited because it’s cool to get a glimpse into other people’s prayer lives. Apprehensive because I’m lazy and sitting on my couch writing down stuff in my journal has been my go-to prayer time for the past 5ish years. Do I really want to read what Martin Luther (who prayed for ~3 hours a day) tells his friend in a letter about prayer? Well, apparently I did. I was most surprised about him talking about preparing for prayer. He says that when he feels “cool and joyless” about prayer he says, “quietly to myself and word-for-word the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and, if I have time, some words of Christ or of Paul, or some psalms, just as a child might do.” The ten commandments surprised me because I don’t think about the ten commandments very much and also because I only know them through the song we learned in third grade (which I found on YouTube, featured below for your viewing pleasure).
So, I went through the Lord’s prayer and focused on each line, thinking about God as Father, how holy He is, and so on. I still wrote in my journal afterward, but focusing on the Lord’s prayer did put what I was doing— talking with God— into context with Jesus praying and the God of the Bible. What I mean to say is that yes, I read the Bible and then pray, but focusing on the Lord’s prayer made me think more about who I was talking to instead of just talking. It made more sense to me that Saint Augustine says we must realize how no matter how blessed we are, nothing in this world compares to God’s glory.
Isn’t it crazy that God wants to talk to me? That he wants to talk to you? That people who were actual prayer warriors wrote about their rhythms of prayer?
you can’t see Will’s special heart, but it’s in there
I’ll get into what he says more and my attempts in a later post, so I’ll leave you with this little quote: “We must be careful not to break the habit of true prayer and imagine other works to be necessary which, after all, are nothing of the kind.”