On Sunday I went to my pastor's house for lunch. I could say my pastors' house, actually (note apostrophe placement), because his wife is also ordained, although she is not the pastor of our church. I wanted to meet with them because life has suddenly got rather confusing lately, and I felt the need of some guidance. Or at least some wise listening.
Sometimes I know viscerally that something's not quite right, but it takes kind of a lot of talking to get to the heart of the matter, if I ever do. It's like spinning around blindfolded and then trying to hit a target. So I pretty much wasted most of our limited time animatedly talking in circles and not even really realising I wasn't actually addressing what was at the root of some of the issues I was discussing. Just before both of us had to leave for other appointments, Pastor Steve said, with a flash of true brilliance,
"Based on some things you said, I'm wondering if the reason you're feeling like you need to hurry up and make some decisions is because you're 35 and you think you should know what you're supposed to be doing by now?"
There isn't a way to write this without making it sound like he was being brusque and condescending, but actually, in context he wasn't that at all. It was like an offering of grace--he had pierced right to the centre of the pile of stuff I've been confused about lately, and even though he didn't have any answers for me, just having someone see that, and say it with compassion, and not force me to say it myself, was such a relief that I burst into tears.
Then the two of them asked if they could pray with me about this. And so, in the traditional way, we bowed our heads and closed our eyes, and they talked grace with God over me. In this particular case, I didn't feel like our earlier conversation had been particularly prayer-like at all--or at least my part of it hadn't. I had just been blethering. When my pastors took the preceding conversation in their hands and held it up to God in a set-aside moment, that suddenly seemed like the right way to pray.
Basically, I'm saying I still don't know what to do about corporate prayer. Sometimes that's like being blindfolded, too, it seems. I do think there's something to what I said last post, but I guess it isn't all of it. I guess, as Craver commented down there, it's a good thing we don't have to know all about praying before we do it. And what a relief that we don't only have to pray for ourselves--that we can pray for others and they can pray for us. Really, I know I couldn't live without it.
Photo: jennw2ns (or it might have been another Jenn), Blindfolded, 2006.