They say that I should pray without ceasing. Every minute of every day. Every second of every night. Calling on the name of the Lord, asking and watching for His blessings. Always speaking to God, what He has first spoken to us. Living and dying as a child of God, no matter where I am or what I do. In word, in deed, in heart, in body. An ongoing conversation with the Lord; who I am, and ultimately who He is for me.
But there are times, when the words may stop, and when I can’t hear His voice. There are times when I am unworthy to mouth the words He has given me to say. There are times when my thoughts have wandered far, far away.
And there are times, when my heart won’t believe. When I am overtaken by doubt, and I can’t feel a thing. There are times when I have forgotten the words and despised the right deeds. The prayers of hands and of my will have been silenced. And I can’t start them back up again.
They say I should pray without ceasing. But what happens in the in between? In between prayers, when I don’t pray.
Does my God sit silent, and let me slip away. Does my God drift away, because He can’t hear my voice. Does my God find someone new, who knows how to pray more faithfully. In between prayers, that I know I should say.
Why does He leave them up to me, these prayers? To prove that I will love Him always? To show Him that I can sacrifice everything for Him? He should know best, what an unbelievably unfaithful sinner I already am. Isn’t this what all my prayers have already admitted? And now what? While I wait for my unclean lips to praise Him again. While I wonder why my unclean hands won’t fold. He is still the same.
In between prayers, my memory teases. What God already did, and what he already said. Because His doing and speaking may be hiding right now. What I tried to believe, what I used to say. Because I trusted His goodness. What they have done in response to His love, what they want me know, to remember His promise. In between prayers.
Whether it’s dirty mouth words, or unreflective psalms, or forgotten stories and hope, or memorized script, the faithful can’t help but pray. Whether it’s complaint or grievance or thankful praise, those who believe will speak and pray. Whether it is my audible words, or the song of historic faith, God’s children are made to pray.
And I begin to see, that prayers have not ended. Every minute of everyday. Every second of every night. The saints and the martyrs, the brothers and sisters, the only Son of God. Speaking to God what He has first spoken to us. Living and dying as children of God. Reconciled, reunited. No matter what we may say, what we may do. Even when we pause, in between prayers.