Helium Words

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”—Luke 11:9-10

Prayer is powerful. Prayer unveils answers. Prayer is a key to locked doors. Odd to think that after these many years I need to reminder/reconvincing that prayer actually “works.” That God really hears me and cares. Sounds a little jaded, doesn’t it? The problem isn’t with prayer; the problem is with me. That’s an absolute I can draw with the firmest of confidences. I doubt. I falter. I underestimate God and overestimate myself. I try to shoulder burdens miles out of my league. Human will is a lot like gravity. It pulls us down and puts pressure on us to stay there. It convinces us that it is law, true, the only option, and the indirect path to finding God’s plan for our lives. We must somehow use our own devices to find God’s will. We must seek God with our words, then go in pursuit of his plan by way of our own hand-hacked paths.

What ever happened to asking, seeking, and knocking? I mean, really doing those things? I know my doubts don’t belong pointed towards God’s power, but so often that’s where I choose to align them. Because I pray—words fall from my lips and I presume that I’ve done my job. But in retrospect, I have to wonder how often they’re simply words. Strings of letters and spaces and script filled with pauses that are meant to fill the silence. They’re like listening to myself in a conversation. Contributing only to splash the face of talk with my own freckles of wisdom. I’m supposed to come to God with my heart. Open, and simple, and bleeding, and raw. Asking, and seeking, and knocking with my heart.

Jesus prayed. Jesus told his disciples to pray. Jesus removed himself to talk with God, to struggle with God, to beg of God, to meet with God. There isn’t an orthodox way to go about it, really. He wasn’t sitting cross-legged and humming garbled incantations. He wasn’t silencing his mind or meditating on the swirl of unknown forces. He came laden with expectation. He asked like  a man who knows he will be getting something in return. He was purposeful, intentional, persistent and honest. He was exactly how we should be, and so often aren’t. We fritter around trying to conjure up the faith of a mustard seed. I think it’s safe to say he had several feed sacks full. Prayer is humbled faith in action. It comes soiled in reality, belted in promise, and searching for the answer it knows will find it. It knows that God isn’t into one-way streets. Our words don’t skid down some lost corridor until they hit a wall and bounce back. God drives down boulevards where he can meet us face to face. Heart to heart. The Maker and his Image. Funny that the shadow has the sass to doubt its thrower. It’s source. The divinity that takes two-way streets, pastes broken heart shards, and doesn’t turn up His nose when our stench finds its way into His throne room. His arms, ears, and doors are always open. They’re just waiting for us to come.