Something that happens with increasing frequency in a party where everybody is on the floor, swirling and moving passionately to good music under the expert guidance of a professional emcee is the host turning to me and saying, “Bob, will you please pray!”
I, also am into the music and into the dancing, maybe not on the floor with my two left feet, but in all probability watching my wife who still captivates me with her elegant movements, and when the host turns to me, as he did last night, I am caught by surprise as happened to me last night at my dear friend’s sixtieth do.
But the surprise in me was but for a moment as I looked around at the huge extended family of my dear friend and the hall packed with his friends and his well-wishers, and realised that God was there. It was not a divisive moment between a good party time and prayer time, but just an acknowledgment of a happy God, already in the room.
My job I realized was just getting everybody to say hello to Him, and I think I did just that. “Our having a good time,” I said, “is exactly what Someone in this hall wants, and that Someone is the One, who has allowed our dear friend good health and happiness all these his sixty years!”
In my mind, I called God up to the front as we would call any distinguished guest and I asked the people to publicly thank Him, and we with our eyes closed in deep respect did just that.
For me prayer is a conversation, a talking to that happens between the Creator and me. It ain’t a ritual, and when I hear prayers uttered or repeated meaninglessly I shudder, because it’s often like the good morning messages I see in my WhatsApp inbox every morning that are not directed to me, but just words directed to all and sundry. I would, and I am sure God would, love to have a personal message said to Him.
We need to understand that God loves a conversation especially when we are enjoying ourselves. Most of us have these long monologues only when going through a problematic issue and then down on our knees we fervently repeat meaningless ritualistic prayers.
Pray like you are speaking to your dad. Pray like you are sharing good news and the feeling of happiness and telling dad on the phone what a good time you are having, and thanking him for making it possible.
I’m not sure how the others in the hall took my praying but all I felt as the dancing resumed, and I walked back to my seat was God sitting in the next chair and smiling at the whole gathering..!
Robert Clements is a newspaper columnist and author. He blogs at www.bobsbanter.com and can be reached at email@example.com