As a cradle Catholic who still remembers what it was like before Vatican II, I found it hard to pray from the heart when I was first ordained a deacon. I’m not talking about our standard Catholic prayers that seem to satisfy any given situation with a “Hail Mary” or “Glory be to the Father” when put on the spot. I’m talking about truly heartfelt, spontaneous prayer specific to a given situation in the moment. But, over time, I’ve learned how to pray from the heart and be comfortable that something inspiring and profound might come out of my mouth. Especially at our staff meetings when Fr. Todd asks one of us each week to close in prayer. Many thanks to Fr. Todd and some of you for teaching me to do so.
So, just what is it that makes praying in front of people uncomfortable? Maybe because I try too hard and make it difficult? Here’s a little humor Kimberly found on Pinterest that helps me realize to not overthink it when asked to pray aloud in front of people. It’s called “Lord, I hate prayer:”
One Sunday morning at a small southern church, the new pastor called on one of his older deacons to lead in the opening prayer. The deacon stood up, bowed his head and said, Lord, I hate buttermilk.” The pastor opened one eye and wondered where this was going. The deacon continued, “Lord I hate lard.” Now the pastor was totally per plexed. The deacon continued, “Lord, I ain’t too crazy about plain flour. But after you mix ’em all together and bake ’em in a hot oven, I just love biscuits. Lord help us to realize when life gets hard, when things come up that we don’t like, whenever we don’t understand what You are doing, that we need to wait and see what You are making. After you get through mixing and baking, it’ll probably be something even better than biscuits. Amen.”
Now, I’m not much of a cook. But, I could probably come up with a very inspirational prayer about mixing sand, gravel, cement, and water to make something very “concrete” (no pun intended). May you have a blessed week praying in front of each other to our Lord.