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My Two Cents

July 24, 2022, 12:00 AM

As retirement approaches, part of me wants to do as much new stuff as possible. Another part of me wants to find old stuff that might still work! 

Here’s something in the latter category (from 2013) that goes along with this week’s worship theme of prayer:

Mr. J. Christian Monk

12 Folded Hands Way

Columbia MD

Dear Christian (Chris? JC?)

First, allow me to congratulate you on finding a faith community you can call home. These days it can be rare for a guy like you to wander into a congregation, and feel like you belong so soon. I’m glad your new faith community enjoys singing so much, and celebrates communion every week. There’s just something about being around a table that encourages people to open up. Oh, and it sounds like the children at the church do give the minister all she can handle most Sundays. I guess it helps to keep things lively.

I wanted to get in touch right away regarding your questions about prayer. It sounds like you’re worried that your name might make people think you are already an expert. But, believe me, no one will make that assumption! Good church people usually give newcomers at least a month or two before asking them to do anything as scary as pray in public. And, no one will think anything about it if you don’t volunteer.

Truth is, even people who have been around the church a long time don’t usually call themselves expert pray-ers. In fact I’m not sure I’ve ever heard someone say, “One thing I’m really good at is praying.” I guess everyone realizes they might have a little room for improvement.

Now, concerning your own prayer life. If you want my advice, the short version is to simply say, “Be honest.” Ask for what you want, not for what you think you ought to have. Ask for big things like world peace. And little things like a short check-out line. I’m guessing that God will be able to sort things out. And, in the meantime, the divine listener will appreciate your candor. Don’t worry about fancy religious language. Just say what’s on your heart. Share what’s breaking your heart. Make sure you unload on God if you aren’t feeling particularly holy or if you find that the world has been giving you a raw deal lately.

And, above anything else, remember this: any time you are expressing yourself- in song, alone, or in the middle of a party- anytime you share what is authentic to your own soul, with a sense that the unseen is listening in, you are, in fact praying. And your prayers will make a difference.

Well, I guess I’d better go. Keep those questions coming!

Your friend, Faith N. Yu