Inch Upon Inch
By Elisa Morgan
I’ve been having trouble praying lately.
It’s not like I don’t pray. I do. All day every day, a conversation of prayer flows back and forth between me and God, and when I pause to listen in, between God and me. I do practice an ongoing stream of conversation with God.
But I wonder if my prayer stream is too shallow. Please help my grandson on his final. Give me wisdom for parenting my adult children. Help me find words for the book I’m writing.
Sometimes when I pray, I stop one-inch in. That’s it. That’s as deep as I go.
This morning I paused to ask myself why. I woke up earlier than normal and because my husband is recovering from shoulder surgery and sleeping – make that trying to sleep - in another bedroom, I turned on the light, padded into my office and returned to my warmy-toasty covers with my Bible and journal. I began to pray and then stopped as a familiar sense of careful restraint hovered.
Please help my grandson on his final today. I stopped. Worries rose up. Itching against the deep, I dug down just a bit and uncovered a myriad of objections just one inch farther. What if he doesn’t? Will he think you’re not real? Will he step away from you?
Give me wisdom for parenting my adult children. I stopped again. For the last several years I’ve been concentrating on letting go, releasing my more than grown children. Realizing that my ways are not always their ways much less God’s ways, I’ve pulled back from advice-giving and offering unsolicited “wisdom.” I’ve relinquished initiation and instead have learned to depend more on their sense of timing and their need for being together. But what if saying less leaves them with less? What if I should pursue and forge more connection – even insist upon it so that we don’t move too far away in our hearts?
Help me find words for the book I’m writing. Yes. This one is clearer. I’ve tried – often – writing on my own and the words end up brittle, breaking apart just as my fingers hit the keys and they appear on the screen. As I sit with this prayer though, more clarity comes. What if I don’t really have anything to say on this subject? What if I decided to write just because I was bored or wanted to accomplish something and you really haven’t been leading me to this project?
As I one-inch pray, and then pause and dare to go deeper – just one more inch – I’m reminded that prayer is, indeed, a conversation. Me to God. God back to me. Me back to God. God back to me. Inch upon inch until over time, the inches have added up to more depth, and more vulnerability. And I am shifted to new realizations. Unexpected insights. Fresh hope. More trust in God’s wisdom.
Where are you afraid to pray right now? And how might you, one inch at a time, dig down into more?
Elisa Morgan is the cohost of the new podcast, God Hears Her. She is also the cohost of Discover the Word and contributor to Our Daily Bread. Her latest book is When We Pray Like Jesus. Her other books include The Beauty of Broken, Hello, Beauty Full, and She Did What She Could. Connect with Elisa @elisa_morgan on Twitter, and @elisamorganauthor on Facebook and Instagram.