What Are We Saying? On Fears, Distractions, and Prayer

By on January 26, 2015 in News & Musings

RebeccaGuest Post by Rebecca Gamble

Last Sunday I volunteered to lead Zion’s All Ages Confirmation. I had no idea what I was in for!  First, having only attended one Confirmation class here at Zion prior to this week, I really wasn’t sure what to expect.

I’m a planner, so I went ahead and added details and additions to the outline sketch Pastor Meta had given me. Planning, planning, planning! I felt like I had it all nailed down alright by the time Sunday morning came around, but when Confirmation “Class” (really, much more of a lively discussion!) began, I immediately realized this wasn’t going to work. Not the way I’d planned it. As I looked around the table there were people with more wisdom than I, more experience than I, and better questions than I – resources to be tapped! I soaked them in for a minute and realized they didn’t need a teacher today, they just needed a facilitator. I had been way too focused on planning and finding the “right” things to say. It’s amazing what happens sometimes when you stop stressing over or being distracted by the “HOW” of something, and just participate in it!

confirmation class

The conversation was amazing. We talked about what nurtures our faith and doesn’t. We talked about prayer as one thing that nurtures and the many forms it takes. I also heard people say how intimidating and scary prayers can be – especially ones said in church. So, we faced our fears and together wrote the Prayers of the People for this Sunday! It was hard at first, but when we stopped worrying what it sounded like and could just say what we meant, it was beautiful!

I think the same issues are also true with the Lord’s Prayer. Either there’s pressure to remember all the  right words, in order, without messing it up, or it becomes a showy challenge to say it with the most beautiful emphasis and enunciation. As a kid, my siblings and I would sometimes race to see who could mumble the syllables to the finish fastest.  It’s almost comical listening to churches who can’t agree on which version they should be saying. – Contrasting versions said on top of each other, some people very vocally willing one version into overriding the other, and no one quite sure which will win the duel that day. There are just so many distractions that keep us from remembering what the words we’re saying mean, much less actually meaning them when we say them!

We can forget what prayer is about – just talking to God, as God’s beloved children. We are called to bring our requests, and thanks, and praise! We forget it isn’t about how it sounds and there’s no real “right” way. We forget to take a moment and soak in the meaning, and experience the God we’re communicating with!I wonder if it might help if we just heard it a little differently or rewrote it in practical terms for ourselves. Sometimes just hearing something differently can cause us to be present to what we actually mean. So, here goes a shot at doing exactly that in a translation of the Lord’s Prayer written just for Zion!

“Good God, Almighty,

Maker of Everything,

You’re unfathomable… but show up in the people of Zion and around us Today and give us a glimpse!

Bring all sorts of healing and newness, as only You can.

God, make what we collectively have enough for all. As we wait for your coming, THIS is how we know your kingdom is already among us!

May we receive and share your good gifts, food, acceptance, and forgiveness with everyone as freely on all days as we sometimes do on our best Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings.

Keep us safe from harm and harming.

You have creation in your hand, You have ultimate power, and You are ablaze with profound beauty! Yes, it is true! Yes, let these things be! Yes!

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