G-Chatting, Prayer, and Little Nothings

Hope you’re having a relaxing week with friends and family!  I don’t know about you, but prayer is such a mystery to me….something I think about a lot.  This was originally posted August 3, 2011 when our daughter Maggie was still in Guatemala.

There’s the supernatural feeding of the 5,000, the miraculous pillar of fire in the wilderness, and…G Chat.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (like I was, apparently), you know about this magical little box that appears at the bottom of your screen if you have Gmail and allows you to carry on a conversation with friends and family while simultaneously doing “work” on your computer.  This has been a delightful discovery, introduced to me by my daughters, one in Guatemala, and one in Washington D.C.  Sometime during most mornings we’ll each show up, sign on and Maggie will text, “Well, we’re all here.  How’s the fam?”

Off and on, as we leave and then jump back into the conversation, going about our daily stuff, we tackle problems like looking for a new home for Katy in D.C., prepping Maggie for job interviews, weighing in on important fashion questions, and planning a road trip together.

Years ago, when she was in high school, it was Maggie who learned how to text without looking at the screen of her phone, holding it under her desk and chatting with me while in class.  She taught me the wonders of texting too, kind of like a special ed teacher working with a very slow student.  I figured communication with my teen was at least as important as what her Spanish teacher was saying so I didn’t discourage this impropriety.

As I think back to my family, accessibility was one of the highest values.  My parents have had the same phone number for 50 years.  That phone # represents their presence and availability.  It never mattered how high the phone bill was, and I always knew that any time of the day or night they were there for me.  I knew (and know) that talking to me was their highest priority.  I remember the night I called them at 2 a.m. because I was so excited that it was snowing where I was in Texas and without missing a beat they shook off their sleep and joined me in my enthusiasm.

With our daughters it’s mostly texting 24/7, but last night I got a call from Guat.  Both of us home alone for the evening in our respective countries, we talked about important things like Miley Cyrus, and Bill Clinton, a friend who’s pregnant, what we were fixing for dinner, and how much we like Sandra Bullock as a comedienne.  We laughed a lot and missed each other.  It was a lot of little “nothings” that added up to an important “something” – being present and available to each other.

It’s kind of like a card we have loved to send to each other in our family.  On the front are Pooh and Piglet walking together.

“Pooh!” whispered Piglet.

“Yes, Piglet?” said Pooh.

“Oh, nothing,” said Piglet.

“I was just making sure of you.”

I wonder if it’s like that with God.  Do we tend to dismiss the casual thoughts, hopes, anxieties of our day that we may toss up to God as “notlegitimate” prayer – a lot of little “nothings”?  I wonder if it’s exactly those little “nothings” that add up to the “something” of an authentic, present relationship with God.

What do you think?  Do you feel like some prayer is more legit or real than other prayer?

2 thoughts on “G-Chatting, Prayer, and Little Nothings

  1. Like a faucet, it should be a steady trickle, when in actuality prayer is sometimes an all or nothing thing for me.

    I remember hearing Billy Graham respond to Larry King’s prodding about prayer… paraphrased was this:

    Larry: When and how do you pray?
    Billy: I’m praying right now.

    So much wisdom in that continual conversation!

    Like

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