Sometimes prayer from the ditch seems impossible. No matter what you may have said about God or thought about God or even preached about God, you wonder if He really wants to hear from you especially if you are in the ditch because you chose to be in the ditch. Surely He is ticked off and wants nothing to do with you right? He is a stern God with whom we play some cosmic game of hide and seek and we hope He doesn’t find us because if He does there will be hell to pay. Right? I’m not so sure.
The image of God the Father in the New Testament is one of just that, a Father. Not an earthly father but a Father that is full of grace, mercy and compassion. A Father who sent His only Son to give His life that we might be called the sons and daughters of God. And so He wants us to come. He wants us to let Him find us. He longs to hear us call His name.
The Trappist monk Basil Pennington captures the simplicity of prayer when he writes: “A father is delighted when his little one, leaving off his toys and friends, runs to him and climbs into his arms. As he holds his little one close to him, he cares little whether the child is looking around , his attention flitting from one thing to another, or if he’s intent upon his father, or just settling down to sleep. The father doesn’t care, because essentially the child is choosing to be with his father, confident of the love, the care, the security that is his in those arms.
We settle down in our Father’s arms, in his loving hands. Our mind, our thoughts, our imagination may flit about here and there; we might even fall asleep;but essentially we are choosing to remain for this time intimately with our Father, giving ourselves to him, receiving his love and care, letting him enjoy us as he will. It is very simple prayer. It is very childlike prayer. It is prayer that opens out to us all the delights of the Kingdom.”
And so I pray. I pray because I think God really loves me even with my messes and everything else that others may not understand. I prayed this week at church while singing an ancient hymn and I choked because I sang these words and I couldn’t sing them without being overcome by God’s love.
Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.
He really does love me as I am not necessarily as I should be.