A few years ago, I realized the prayer model that I had been using for years just wasn’t working for me. I felt that prayer was just another thing on my to-do list. I was dissatisfied in my prayer life, and I could see my own “spiritual crankiness” reflected back at me in the eyes of my family. Almost on a whim, I threw all my old prayer practices out the window and began to collect new ones. I wanted to bring God into all of my life, including the chaos and mess.
I began by carrying a rock in my pocket.
That rock, the weight and heft of it, reminded me again and again to pray, to be with God while I walked around in my life and in the world.
So here’s the problem with hauling God around with you all day: Not only do you let God into those glorious quiet morning moments, you also invite him into the mad rush to get out the door on time. God sees you steer clear of that needy, lonely person who will talk your ear off. God sees you spend empty minutes on the Internet as the glorious world unfolds at your feet.
Of course, God is with us, rock or no rock, but I found that physically carrying that rock kept me focused and helped me remember.
Conversation with God is not for the faint of heart. It does not make your life easier. In fact, prayer complicates your experience. Praying entangles you in the quest to be a better inhabitant of this planet, but what more would you want to mirror for your children?
As parents, we are our children’s best and closest teachers when it comes to being humans in the world, spiritual beings in the world, and God’s people in the world. I want my son to see me try and fail and keep on trying and learning and accepting the grace that comes to me -- rock or no rock.
What does being with God look like for you?
How might you carry God into your day?
How might your children carry God into their school day?
Carry something spiky or heavy in your pocket to remind you that God is with you all day long.
At the dinner table, share the blessings and struggles of keeping God with you. How did it make your day better? When did it make you feel uncomfortable?
Praying in the Messiness of Life: 7 Ways to Renew Your Relationship with God
by Linda Douty (Upper Room Books, 2011)
An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith
by Barbara Brown Taylor (Harper Collins, 2010)
Back to FAMILY FAITH FORMATION: PRAYER topic page
Laura Healy is a poet who writes, watches the river and listens to the birds in San Antonio, Texas.