I get distracted fairly easily.
When there is a lot of noise, or kids darting around at my feet, or one of them trying to escape, I loose focus and concentration.
For some reason I need a lot of focus and concentration to leave a good phone message.
And so I was leaving someone a phone message the other day while chaos was unfolding around me, and I found myself distracted. In my defense it wasn't a little distraction like if I had left the TV on. This was a Level Tangerine distraction. There are only two levels of distraction higher than that: Fire Engine Red for when the house is on fire, and code brown which is too gross for words.
I'm okay with leaving a rambly distracted message. Most people I call are probably used to it: they may even expect it by now. However, as I was approaching my favourite part of the phone conversation, hanging up, my distracted, non thought out words, were words usually reserved for ending a different type of conversation: prayer.
I almost ended the phone message with the word Amen.
Instead it ended with the sentence, "In your name, ah,...(pause while I went "what am I saying here? did I think I was praying?)...talk to you later? bye."
I'm thankful that when I next saw the individual she made no mention of it. But really how do you begin that conversation? "Hey, so where you praying to me, or was that message for God?"
This has caused me to consider how I pray.
When I pray am I treating God like a voice mail inbox?
"This is a message for God. It's Chris Miller calling again at 6:30 on Tuesday May 4th. I still haven't heard back from you on the issue I was mentioning last week. You may have forgotten. I was calling to inquire about what I should be getting my wife for Mother's Day. I'd really appreciate your input on this because she is no help at all. If you could get back to me soon that would be a big help. Mother's Day is this Sunday. Thanks. You have my number."
Is that what my prayers have become?*
While I don't believe my prayers have been reduced to playing phone tag with the almighty, I think there is the potential for prayer to be like leaving a phone message if I fail to build into my relationship with God. If I fail to allow Him to speak to me. If I fail to spend time in his presence. If I fail to grow in an understanding of who God is. If I fail to grow in my understanding of what prayer is and how God communicates with His creation.
I hope that none of us would find our prayers similar to leaving a phone message. I hope that instead, we find that God is listening and working in us through our prayers.
*By the way, I have not been asking God for help in dealing with Mother's day. I think I've got that covered. And because Sheena probably won't be reading this before Sunday I'll tell you: WiFi in the house. That's right, for mother's day I'm giving her the opportunity to check facebook from the bathtub. I can hear her say it already: "Best Mother's Day gift ever."