Pray as you can…and other hard things

If you have been tracking with me, you know of my commitment to blogging about Father Thomas Hopko’s 55 Maxims for Christian Living.
For at least a week I have been alternately avoiding and plodding through the second item:
Pray as you can, not as you will.
One of my goals is to look at this list from a non-church-going view. From that perspective, these words make me scrunch my nose and shrug my shoulders.
Even as a “church’ person who studies the Bible, I find the words to be vague.
Is he speaking to how often I pray? Is he referring to the content of my prayers? Does he mean requests for myself? Supplication for others? Both?  
Pray as you can, not as you will.
Okay then.
Prayer is hard sometimes, isn’t it?

Hard to explain. We have quick answers when people ask what praying really means or how it is done. Just talk to God. It can be short or long. You can do it anywhere at any time. We even have an acronym for a prayer agenda: Adoration Confession Thanksgiving Supplication. And there you have it. Simple…or not
Hard to do on occasion. Many of us are wired to talk talk TALK through difficulties. Some of us just want to be quiet. And although Jesus is first in my life, there are times when I just don’t want to talk. I don’t. To anyone. Not even to #1.
Oh, I will pray for your needs. I will do that at any moment and repeatedly as long as it is necessary.
But praying about – and releasing – my own stuff? Don’t always feel like it.
Pray as you can, not as you will.
Some days I am hanging on an emotional cliff, and I know prayer will plunge me into a sea of tears. So I don’t. I hold myself as stiff as I can. And I just don’t.
Sometimes I am beaten down by this financial situation in my life dragging on for so long. I want the Creator of the entire universe, the One who loves me beyond what I can fathom, to just FIX IT NOW!
I don’t want to talk. I want to stomp and fuss and pout. Not talk. Even to Him.
 Pray as you can, not as you will.
Note to folks who don’t regularly attend church: sometimes this prayer thing is just as hard for those of us who attend regularly. We don’t have an “in.”
Pray as you can, not as you will.
I read it again and say WHATEVER, Father Hopko. WHAT.EV.ER.
Then I breathe.
Then sometimes I make my point of view very clear,in case God doesn’t already know. this part might include my outside voice and/or tears.
Then I breathe.
Then then then…I listen.
Not because I joyfully will every time.
Because I finally get to the place where I can…able albeit barely.
Pray as you can, not as you will.
Okay, I get it now. How about you?
I hope Maxim 3 doesn’t pull my guts out like this one did. SHEESH!!
We will talk again soon.
BP 🙂