On laughing and praying.

I was praying with a friend for that friend. I was, as I often do, just talking, asking God for what seemed to be a response to the concern on my friend’s heart. And then, as I sometimes do, I just started laughing.

People who know me know that this is one of my odd conversational characteristics, one of the things that makes me grateful that I never have to talk with me. I talk, I stop, I think, and then I start laughing. At the joke in my head, the pun, the glimpse of understand that renders my attempts to make sense of the world simply hilarious.

I started laughing as I realized that the concerns my friend and I were expressing to God might simply be hilarious, irrelevant.

Hope and Jon laughingLaughing while in conversation with God might seem irreverent. And yet, it has a long history. When Sarah, Abraham’s wife, heard the angels talking about her impending pregnancy, she laughed. She knew her body better than any man standing outside the tent.

But then we read an interesting thing in the text. “The Lord was gracious to Sarah, as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised.”

She actually got pregnant. In her late eighties.

For the rest of her life she was reminded of that laughter. Every time she called “Isaac”, she was simply saying, “he laughs.” “God has brought me laughter,” she said. “And everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.”

I ‘m not afraid to laugh when I pray, or to cry, or to babble or to be speechless. In other words, I’m not afraid to do all the things I do when I talk with the people who know me best. It’s not because I’m particularly spiritual. I think it’s because Sarah and I both know God’s particularly person.

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