“But I don’t know what to ask for,” I said.
What do you mean?
“Everywhere I turn, there are huge events and great risks and massive suffering. And I don’t know whether to ask for rescue or judgment or protection or deliverance or the Cubs to win.”
Why do you think you have to ask for something?
“I hear about great people of prayer who are always asking for things and getting them. Who pray for hours and keep lists and remember. Everything. And I can’t remember what I’ve asked for and can’t determine what specifically I should ask for because there are so many children who suffer and so many people who are sold and so many uncertain choices and so many voices. I can’t decide.”
Why do you think you have to decide which thing and why do you think you have to keep track?
“What do you mean?”
What percentage of the time that you are talking with Nancy are you asking for something?
“Um, ten percent? Maybe.”
How often do you talk through the same concern with her without arriving at a solution, but the fact that the two of you can talk about it helps?
“Um, a lot?”
Do you feel like your relationship is a failure because you aren’t asking for something? Or that you talk things through without reaching a conclusion?
“Actually, I’m grateful. Because it means that we are comfortable being together. Because the conversation is the thing, not the request. Of course, that 10% of the time that we are asking for things are important. Because it reflects trust.”
But simply talking and listening are not a problem, right?
And she knows that you love her even if you don’t keep asking her over and over for stuff, right?
I think you worry too much about getting prayer right. And forget to rest in the chatter that is relationship.
First published in 2016.