What’s acceptable?

A reflection about prayer from Rich Dixon.


Are you like me…have you ever scolded yourself for not praying enough?

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For the last 20+ years, I’ve spent a lot of time on my handcycle. After more than a decade of isolation following a spinal cord injury, my bike offered freedom and independence. As I cranked literally tens of thousands of miles in the beauty of creation, my bike also became a place for long conversations with Jesus.

When I wonder about not praying enough I think I’m forcing myself into someone else’s notion of “acceptable” prayer. Somehow I got the idea that prayer only happens with eyes closed and hands folded.

Then I recall those extended conversations, the comfortable silences as miles passed. I think of time to listen, to reflect and respond.

I remember the God-inspired dream to do a cross-country ride, how impossible it seemed as He and I talked it through and fussed over it. How doubts and questions were answered and fears calmed. How an idea progressed from silly to certain over months and miles.

I think of days when I look forward to the time on my bike because I love the connection I feel to Jesus as I crank. And when I’m in that frame of mind, I’m not quite so self-judgmental about my lack of “acceptable” prayer.

When He and I are talking, I believe my bike seat is holy ground.

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I think you and I do that to ourselves, and to each other, a lot. We draw human boundaries around what’s acceptable as prayer, or worship, or missions. I’m not sure our boundaries are always God’s boundaries.

My sense is that Jesus wants a connection. Whatever we’re doing, I think He cares more about function than form. I have a feeling holy ground surrounds us in our everyday lives.

Maybe He’d like less judgment and more awareness.