What Prayer Is Like

It’s like Jesus is coming to dinner and you want to make him something delicious to eat, something that will really wow him, so you get to work putting it together. And you think you’re concentrating pretty hard on the meal until you look into the mixing bowl and it turns out to be a kind of porridge of yogurt and scrambled eggs and wilted lettuce and coffee grounds.

Or it’s like you have an audience with the king, and finally you will get to tell him everything — all about how you’ve been mistreated, but how you’re a good subject anyway, and you’re wondering when he’s going to fix the roads, and also you want to tell him what a beautiful house he has. You’ve been thinking about this all year, making mental notes of things to mention when you finally get see him. Except when you actually get in there all you can think of to say is, “Oh, hi. Well, my lower back hurts. Um, how are you?”


1 No, you really should check out the source. “Imagination shouldn’t disqualify anyone from serving in the Minnesota state legislature!” Sorry, I’m not sure what that had to do with anything; I just did a google image search for “nonplussed.”

7 Comments on “What Prayer Is Like”

  1. Greg Rowles says:

    I find myself in a similar position often, :). I remember this quote: “To pray is to open the door unto Jesus and admit Him into your distress. Your helplessness is the very thing which opens wide the door unto Him and gives Him access to all your needs.” but I have not the source!

  2. Rayjo says:

    Ah yes, I have to be speaking with the master of the universe before my thoughts turn to figuring out the logistics of putting elephants in roller skates…

  3. Helene says:

    Greg — it’s from a book called “Prayer” written by Ole Hallesby. You’ll find the quote on page 22. (I did a google search)

  4. Dan F. says:

    Hi Steve,

    It’s like were thinking about the same things. One of the points I try to make with my recent post is that the purpose of prayer isn’t to inform God about stuff He might not know – it’s to open ourselves up to be loved by Him.


  5. St. Thomas More thinks of prayer as an audience before the King. I tend to think that it is more of a casual friendship. For my money (or soul, I guess?), I take Tevya from Fiddler on the Roof (the movie version played by Topol) as the best example of prayer I know. It’s friendly, it’s complicated, it’s real.

  6. Nicole says:

    Note to self: do not read Steve Gershom while simultaneously drinking Diet Coke. My keyboard is toast now.

  7. Inspired says:

    Ditto as above for all comments – hilarious and so, so true! Almost burnt myself with my cup of tea. One of my other favourite christian comedian authors, Adrian Plass, describes a prayer circle where his fictional son counts the number of “jusssts…just lord…’ in the prayer… A dangerous passage as predisposes to fits of giggles in shall we say inappropriate situations.

    So often I am the disciples who regularly fell asleep when Jesus himself asked them to stay awake and pray! We are not the only ones who struggle…

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