Tag Archives: prayer

Hello

A friend was driving to work listening to Radio 2 and Adele began singing ‘Hello’. My friend, who had heard the song a number of times before, found herself overcome with emotion as she heard God’s voice reach out to her in that word of greeting.  She had to pull the car over to absorb the moment.

‘Hello’. I love that God might just say ‘Hello’.

No reason to think he might not – Jesus would have certainly used the equivalent words to acknowledge and welcome someone in his days in Galilee. His words would have been a form of ‘Peace be with you’ that’s still used all over the Middle East.  There’s something so simple, so homely, so ‘alongside’ in that word that I’ve started saying it myself sometimes to God, as I’m driving, or walking…  just to remind myself he is there and I am there and we are both there together.  It always makes me smile inside, and it’s very restful.  It’s like being with someone you know very well and you don’t have to say anything to be comfortable with them; there’s just an understanding and a contentment on both sides in each other’s company.

It frees the conversation of any kind of performance or striving or contractual dialogue.  It’s just coming together and being, particularly when your mind is free and you’re doing something that’s not quite prayer and not quite rest and not quite work.  I get the sense too that God likes almost being taken for granted – wants just to be there, not the celebrity focus, just one of us.

On another front, it’s amazing how the Spirit of God is reaching out through pop culture to connect with people who don’t get on with church as it is.  God won’t stop singing even if we, the church, can’t catch the tune others need to hear.  God won’t stop calling people outside the church who are hungry for connection.  We need to pick up the mood music and join in.  I’m grateful to Adele for her openness to the Spirit that enabled my friend’s encounter.

‘Hello.’

Birthing prayer

Broad-shouldered, muscly men walked faster.  One crossed to the other side of the unlit path to avoid me.  I’m not surprised.  I was a bit worried too.  I’d started involuntarily talking out loud to God, expressing my frustration and sense of isolation in aggressive, repetitive mantras.  Appealing desperately to an invisible audience with my hands, using plenty of colourful language, I walked my regular prayer route.  And scared people.

I was never taught to pray like that, and either I am losing my mind (I’m not excluding the possibility) or I’m slowly learning what real prayer is.  Like the inexplicable ravings of someone with mental illness.

What I was saying?  I can’t tell you the words… You’d be shocked.  But about the difficulty of birthing the new thing God is doing.  And the possibility he’s not doing anything new, and I’m just deluded.  Speaking about something others can’t see.  That’s the definition of deluded, right?

Raving like a woman in labour.  Swearing like a woman in pain, trying to get through this moment.  But missing something to push against.

I met Richard, who stopped for a chat….  We talked about Christmas, and we considered Mary, who when she said ‘Yes’ to be mother of God’s child, didn’t know most of her support systems, everything that was familiar and reassuring, would be withdrawn.  She didn’t know she’d be pregnant and in labour in circumstances that would challenge her physical, emotional and spiritual strength to the limit.  She didn’t know she’d be compelled to carry out her task on very thin resources, pretty much on her own, without a script or a map.

And so it is, I suppose, with all the new things God does.  The invisible and unknown have few fans.  God doesn’t do a big media launch for his fresh initiatives with a prior press release sharing the aims of the new strategy. He gives hints and intimations of the possible for ordinary, hidden people to bring to birth.  In unprivileged circumstances.

And it’s hard.  Resources are thin.  The pregnant are tested to the limit of their physical, emotional and spiritual strength.  If you’re pregnant you need people who resist you, perhaps, to push against, to get the baby out.  And you need to swear, to scream, to yell at the God who’s put you in this situation and apparently left you to get on with it.