I sat alone on the living room sofa, babbling, musing, ranting …
Suddenly, I closed my mouth, looked around to assure myself nobody else was there and had an instant revelation that I do that fairly often — talk out loud to the air. And I mean long, drawn-out monologues, spouting off about family, health issues, politics, misunderstandings, misgivings, desires, sorrows, everything.
Anyone observing those personal moments would probably think I’ve lost my mind.
Really, though, talking to myself helps me keep my mind clear and put things in perspective.
Because I’m not really talking to myself or the air. God understands, although I admit that some of what I say may not exactly be worthy of God’s ears. But if not God, then who? God won’t just walk off and leave me in the middle of a conversation.
Years ago, I encountered a pastor who began every prayer with, “And now Lord …”
When asked why, he responded, “Because my public prayers are just continuations of my personal prayer talk.” I got it. Now, I can’t imagine how anyone manages without talking to God. I constantly fling out prayers: when I’m alone or among throngs of humanity, when I’m driving, standing in the shower, stirring a pot on the stove, and when I observe life’s ugliness in all its forms.
During difficulties and stress, my prayer may be a simple, passionate, “Help!” Other times, the prayer is a quiet request, seeking solace for someone in pain. Recently, spring’s rustling trees and raucous crows have stimulated joyful wonder that becomes a wordless prayer of thanksgiving.
Frequently, I ask God to accept my thoughts as silent prayers. When I focus on evaluating a situation or resolving an issue, thinking often feels like praying — kind of an unconscious connection to a mysterious power.
Although I do recite favorite prayers and mantras, many of my prayers aren’t intentional or formal. I just talk out loud or in my head. Praise, complaints, confessions and pleas express feelings, hopes and needs. By concentrating on God, others and myself, I make discoveries.
My methods of praying may be right or wrong. I suspect, however, that there’s no wrong way to pray if one is sincere. I admit I’ve had doubts. But experience has taught me that prayer is a powerful mystery that carries hope and potential for healing and problem-solving. Even seemingly unanswered prayers have resulted in peace of mind and restoration.
So, I won’t stop talking.
Victoria Wyett Ferris is one of The Star’s 13 Faith Walk writers. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.