Maybe you’re asking what in the world is the doxology of dessert? But I need to start with a confession and a little storytelling.
I’ve always struggled with my prayer life. I learned about it, read books about it, and tried really hard for a few days in a row to sit down and focus on a prayer, or even to write one out.
- I tried the ACTS method that guides you through Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication (a fancy word for asking for things.) But often left those moments feeling a bit scattered. That was a lot of feelings to try to cram into a few sentences.
- I tried praying the written prayers of others. I’m looking at you, “Valley of Vision”. It was beautiful for a day or two but I left feeling stuck.
- I also tried praying as I lay in bed at the end of the night but ended up falling asleep. It was so predictable it became an internal joke.
The guilt of my failure was overwhelming. People talked about needing to talk with God the way you talk to your boyfriend or girlfriend, long, eager, and passionate. After hearing things like this I questioned if I even loved God.
Pray without Ceasing
A couple of years I fell down one of my thinking tunnels and it changed my life. What if I did it? What if I talked to God just like I talked to someone I love? Could I talk to God all day? Maybe it was supposed to be a long-standing frequently interrupted conversation.
My Mom had talked about arrow prayers when we were in a pinch as kids. A short little prayer in a hard moment that was lifted up in an intense moment. I had always seen these as lesser prayers, but if they brought me into the presence of God many times a day, maybe the discipline of prayer wasn’t to overcome my weakness by praying a long time. Maybe it was to include God in my day all day every day!
- The next time I was overwhelmed with guilt and the angry tears pricked into my eyes I cried out no more than “God help me! I’m angry again. Forgive me! I can’t do this. Help!”
- When the sunset reflected off the mirrored windows to the bank tower outside I welled up with the beauty and prayed “Wow that is stunning. God you make beautiful things.”
- As I served dessert to my family and my mouth started watering a little bit, I prayed in my heart “I can’t wait to eat this. I’m so glad creation included sugar.”
- When I pulled weeds I muttered under my breath about Adams curse and the weeds I had to pull, but paused a second later to rejoice that my own cursed heart has been made new.
- The boys and I sat outside drawing a flower and then painting with watercolor. The Psalms say “The heavens declare the glory of God. In pausing to notice that beauty it was choosing to look at how He has revealed Himself.
He Hears our Feelings
But there are those moments we don’t say our arrow prayers out loud, or think about them in a few words that make sense. If started thinking of these intense emotional moments as prayers that are stuck in our throats. Thinks that hurt so intensely that real words never form around them.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Romans 6:26
This felt too good to be true! God could hear my pain and turn it into a prayer? He was constantly praying for me! I could give him my lack of words, my humanity, and he would bring it as a prayer before the father.
- When a friend shared about her marriage struggles my heart dropped and my ears started to pound. I knew what this meant for them for the next few weeks. In that moment of pain, there was a prayer. I believe he heard my heart even though it never made it into words.
- As I held the hand of my dying grandmother. I couldn’t think of anything to say to her or to God, but the throbbing of my pain was a prayer.
- The night we lost our baby, I cried until I felt dry, I wanted to pray, but could only rock quietly in the chair where I had hoped to hold our baby. I believe He created a prayer for me when I had no words.
- When I think of a friend who is struggling through the week and my heart drops. I think Christ’s intersessions turns those moments into prayer.
How it changed me
This changed the way I see prayer. God is with me in my daily life. Rather than recoiling in guilt every time I hear about someone’s prayer life. I rejoice in the God that steps down with me into my everyday. He’s not waiting for the fancy, guided prayer journal to meet me, but rather than living in and with me in my every day.
When I have the words to pray and he answers I am blessed. Even more so when I don’t verbally pray, and He is still there with me I’m overwhelmed at his goodness. He meets me in my humanity.
Set apart from Idolatry
When the prophets of Baal wanted to get the attention of their God. They cried out with special phrases and incantations. They cried the same phrases over and over in the hope that one would get through. When the Pharisees prayed they used fancy words and this is what Jesus told them, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”
God doesn’t need our words.
CS Lewis said, “Let us lay before him what is in us, not what ought to be in us.”
So rather than feeling guilty when you think about prayer, be overwhelmed at a Savior that tore the curtain of the temple. That removed everything between him and his children. It gave us perfect access to Him even in our humanity!
Doxology of Dessert
A doxology is a liturgical praise to God. I don’t know about you I have dessert often, and I’ve never been mad when I finished it. I’m always incredibly grateful. That ordinary moment when done with gratitude is transformed into an act of worship.
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Cor 10:31