Have you ever noticed how certain themes pop up in your life from time to time? A recent one for me is the theme of petitioning God. There is a part of me that calls petition “the laundry list” or “I need fill-in-the blank.” Each time I have recently encountered the idea of petition, I have felt resistance and in those circumstances I am called to consider why.
Pondering this notion, questions arise in my mind: Do I believe in a God who answers lists? Do I consider myself above petition? Or is it resistance to the notion of somehow needing a list to get it right? The first time this came up was while meeting with my spiritual director. I felt the resistance again on Sunday in a potentially self-righteous, but curious kind of way. The priest was encouraging us to spend time with God without the need to bring “the list,” i.e. to be grateful, to honor God, to be in God’s presence. I felt very smug at that moment because currently "being" is more my style. I feel like every breath is prayer. In and out. Yah…weh…I have thrown away my list.
So where is the balance? Do I believe in a God who answers prayer? How can I not? But/And how can I believe in a white-bearded man who sits at a desk in heaven and follows each of us like Twitter? God’s magnitude is beyond description. I continue to experience Her presence most when I am in nature and times of just being. In those moments, there is no need to ask. Still I wonder about the notion of petition. I hold others in my thoughts and prayers – safety for travel – healing of sick – hearts to be protected. It no longer feels like a list (or petition), but breath. One movement.
My critical voice steps in and speaks. Am I getting it right? Have I evolved? Look at me! So, where is the balance? Do I need to be doing something different? Is it ok to simply be? Can I merely be in the presence of this God I cannot name and yet know throughout every cell of my bones? The paradox is huge. The belief is strong and the unknowing and questions run side by side. I continue to seek even though I have already found. I continue to grow even though I am an adult. I continue forward – most days. Do I need a list to get it right? Do you?
steeple in the clouds - bermuda 7.09