A parable, perhaps, about conversation with God.

The other day, I had this image of our daughter Hope calling our son Andrew.

She says, “I need some tips on talking with Dad. Like ‘5 easy ways to get dad to do what you want’ or something.”


Andrew says, “I don’t understand talking with Dad at all. Sometimes I ask for something and he doesn’t respond. He just has one of those really long pauses where he closes his eyes and you wonder whether he’s thinking or he’s falling asleep.”

Hope laughs. “I know. And then he tells the story about the time he actually did fall asleep while he was in the middle of counselling someone. Like we haven’t heard that a dozen times.”

“Or he just starts talking about something completely different,” Andrew says. “As if he’s more interested in what we’re doing than in answering our questions. And when you try to take him back to what you want, he just ignores it.”

“And then a week later, he goes back and answers. As if it’s the next breath.”

“I know,” Andrew says. “I’ve forgotten all about it. But it’s like he was thinking about my question the whole time. And the weird thing is, half the time I understand why my question was silly, and the other half I understand why the answer was slow.”

“And half the time, his answer is ‘I know. It’s really hard. I’m sorry you are walking through this,’” Hope says. “But I think he means it. And he tries to show us somehow. Like, there was this one time a guy on the worship team said, ‘I’m supposed to give you a hard time.’ When I looked at him, he said, ‘Your dad.’ And I knew.”

“So maybe there aren’t 5 easy tips?” Andrew says.

“I guess not,” Hope says. “It’s probably supposed to be just like praying.”


First published awhile ago. For a journal of some of my prayers, see “God. We Need You”: A Year of Prayer in a Hospital Chapel.