Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A tribute too late

Recently Nathan and I engaged in a conversation about prayer. We asked each other questions like "what does prayer look like?" or "what does praying sound like?" and "what sort of posture does prayer take?" Afterwards we both were feeling like our meanings werent "living up" to the pious Sunday school versions we always heard about. Yet we confessed that we just didnt identify with those lofty images of prayer. They didnt feel natural to either of us and therefore we felt like our prayer lives weren't up to par with where they should be. A few days later I came across an article in the latest issue of Relevant Magazine entitled "Prayer Defined: sort of." Having just been discussing this very issue with Nathan, I read it with much curiosity toward what it might say. Honestly I thought it would be another explanation that would make me feel inadequate but I was wrong. Here is what the article said:

"Tony Jones, author of PRAY (Th1nk Books) defines prayer as:
'At school, before you eat, while you drive, in the locker room, at home, eyes open, eyes shut, before an exam, through the woods, feeding the dog, on the deck, walking to class, in the morning, before you sleep, wondering about the world, after the fight, looking for an answer, beacause you care, because you dont care, flying across the ocean, on your knees, to erase or to remember, when you're happy, when you're scared, when no one else hears, using ancient ideas or new ones, singing or screaming, writing a letter, in a journal, at the interview, with or without something to say, to get real, sacred or irreverent, Help! Help! Help!, loud or soft, at work, floating or sinking, after you fail, after you succeed, hands folded or raised to the sky, with a friend, with your dad, for your friends, for your family, during the game, at the meeting, to find Jesus, on the mountaintop, in the valley, when you feel alive, when you feel half-dead, under attack, or to attack, to reorganize, at the concert, for composure, to praise, to worship, to just listen, wherever, whenever, however...'

That's prayer. Redefined. Or, to be precise, historically defined. And my guess is that it's already been going on in your life. Its just that no one has ever said anything about it being legit, about it counting. So may I be the first to come along and tell you that the persistent, silent awareness of God that threads through your day, even in the most mundane times-on a bike, in a journal, after a movie, in the car-they all count. Not only do they count, but that fluid, seemless life with God you exhibit has actually been God's hope all along.- Kyle Lake"

In that instant I felt ok. I wasnt ashamed of my seemingly non ritualistic approach to prayer. I felt like my prayer life was as thoughtless and thoughtfilled as my breathing is. Those words served as comfort and affirmation for me. I shared the page with Nathan and he too was encouraged by it. Finally we werent feeling like Christian slackers and instead we became strong prayerfilled followers. Together we became confident and comfortable with the not so defineable way that God has called us to pray.

A few days later I got an email from Relevant Magazine and I came across an announcement telling of the tragic accidental death of Kyle Lake (the writer of this article) :
"The RELEVANT staff today is mourning the unexpected passing of Kyle Lake, author of Understanding God's Will and (re)Understanding Prayer, and pastor of University Baptist Church in Waco, TX. He died yesterday morning after a tragic accident while leading a baptism service. Only 33 years old, he is survived by his wife and three young children. Please join us in praying for the Lake family."

I was struck with how quickly and how timely the ministry of this man came into our lives. Thank you Kyle for walking the path set before you and impacting so many souls that you never even got to meet. See you on the other side.


Dawn said...

What a blessing. Thanks for writing this... and thank your wonderful husband for allowing me to find your site.

Kristine dB said...

I love that quote - how true it is. It really brings prayer life into perspective - it's life and should be so interwoven into one's day to day activities that it's inseparable from everything you do. That really inspires me and makes me want to really consider all I do - can I honestly say that I feel comfortable praying at this exact moment, doing whatever I am doing? If not, I shouldn't be doing it. Thanks for the post Bethany.

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