I’ve been reading a book by Kyle Lake lately called “[re]Understanding Prayer.” (By the way, he’s the guy from UBC Waco who was electrocuted recently while doing a baptism.) Anyway, one of the chapters focuses on Prayer as Drama. He talks about how we learn certain “scripts” from the people in our church as we grow up in our faith. We tend to use certain phrases and emotional dynamics which we have learned from others in the church. He goes on to explain that those who have been in the church the longest seem to be the ones who are the best “actors” – they know the scripts better than everyone else.
I’d have to confess that this is true of me. I’ve been in the church long enough to learn the “scripts” pretty well – I can “act” Christian with the best of ’em.
You know, the youth that I work with are always reluctant to pray in front of the group. I don’t believe this is because they don’t know how to talk to God (I mean, they talk to God all the time privately) – I think it’s because they don’t know the “scripts” all that well and are afraid to look like bad “actors.” Why do we as the church create these kinds of situations where we make feel others feel insecure? Do we do it because it makes us feel superior with our fancy words? (Check Mt 6:5-8) I wonder what I can do to combat this issue? I wonder how I can help create an environment where we all can just be ourselves, and be humble and honest in our dealings with God?
I’ve seen alot of bad “actors” when it comes to prayer – but I’ve also noticed that many of them are the very ones who seem to have a passion that goes beyond my understanding. I wonder if their relationship with God is just more open. I wonder what it would mean to be “like a child” when it comes to prayer?
The best example I know of someone to look up to – who doesn’t follow a script – is my friend Jon. He just talks to God, “Well God, it’s me again and . . . .”
Thanks Jon, I’m learning from you – oh – and also thanks Kyle for your book which has helped me recognize some of this stuff.
And thank you God for giving me the gift of each of these two men.