Pray Like the Bush is Burning

The prayer preceding all prayers is ‘May it be the real I who speaks. May it be the real Thou that I speak to.’… If that can be done, there is no need to go anywhere else. This situation itself is, at every moment, a possible theophany. Here is the holy ground; the Bush is burning now. ~ C.S. Lewis

The old Looney Tunes character, Foghorn Leghorn, famously began, ended and infused his sentences with I say… I say…  It’s funny, but that’s come to my mind recently as I’ve considered a peculiarity in my prayers. It happens more when I’m praying out loud, but it’s sometimes also there in the silent whispers of my heart.

Like Foghorn Leghorn’s repetitive I say… I say… I find myself repeating I pray… I pray…

I’m already praying, just like Foghorn Leghorn was already talking. So essentially I’m talking to God and continually interjecting: I pray for… I pray that…. It’s sounds less like the outpouring of my heart and more like I’m giving a speech. I’m not suggesting that there’s a right or wrong way to pray. I think God’s pleased whenever, however we do it.

But I’m wondering if there’s a more thoughtful way for me to pray. When I say Father, I pray… am I saying I’m asking or I’m begging or I’m pleading or I’m just chatting here? God knows my heart, but as a part of this journey in grace, I want to learn to know it, too.

I grew up in the church. I’m very comfortable with church-speak but I don’t think I’d use it with a burning Bush. I might fall on my face or I might argue like Moses, but I’m pretty sure I’d be the real me, aware of the real Thee in that moment.

It doesn’t take a theophany – a burning bush, a cloud by day and fire by night  – for me to pray the prayer preceding all prayers – May it be the real I who speaks. May it be the real Thou that I speak to.

To better know my own heart, I’m working on tossing out my church-speak and paring my words down to their core. This is holy ground and I’m ready to pray like the Bush is burning!

Author: Debbie

A former counselor and public speaker, I'm grateful for many, many things - God's grace most of all!

28 thoughts on “Pray Like the Bush is Burning”

  1. I have always been able to relate to Peter’s reaction during Jesus’ Transfiguration. He was so awed and overcome that he started babbling like a fool about tents and such. Jesus must have had the BEST look on His face. Amused, I’m sure He was–and yet understanding of our limits and tendencies to over-dramatize—when we are called to “Be still and know that He is God”.

  2. This is holy ground and I’m ready to pray like the Bush is burning! – I love it. I am too~. Saints – people with deep hearts for God’s blessing prayed over me Sat. night. I’ve never felt so cherished, so honestly offered His amazing goodness. You speak without church speak too. You offer God’s abundant understanding ways always. Bloom on.

  3. This is so good, gracious one, and will give me something to think and pray, (I say pray) about. I do want to always be real. We know He is. God bless you and your amazing grace lessons! love and prayers!

    1. Debbie – Just after I wrote this post, I was praying for you and Aub and saying “Father, I pray for Debbie and Aub…”
      I truly fell silent.
      I tried to search my heart to know what I was saying.
      I’m so grateful that the Father knows and doesn’t require “perfect” prayers.
      I do want to break the habit of substituting thoughtfulness with familiar phrases.
      You’re in my prayers, however I say it!

  4. I like the comment on the Debbie Branson religion!
    Seriously, I just talk to God like he is the person sitting next to me, cause he really is, don’t you think?
    Speaking of gravatars, mine took a trip and I can’t seem to lure it back.

    1. Linda –
      Believe me, everyone who knows me is shaking there head at that one. 😉
      Yes I do think He’s right here – that’s why I try to stop myself from praying like He’s “up there”!
      So sorry about your gravatar. I hope it’s retruned home by now?

  5. Being real with God — isn’t that like not taking the name of the Lord in vain? I don’t know. I do know what you mean, though. And when Jesus taught us to pray, it was without all the fillers. You know, just, “Give us this day . . . ” without any intro. If it hadn’t been He, Himself, praying, some of us would think it rather informal and presumptuous. I’ve even heard folks berated from the pulpit for calling God “You” as if “Thee” would be more respectful, when actually, “Thee” is the common form used with a daddy and “You” is the formal usage reserved for people like governors, police, etc. So we draw our lines where we want them, sometimes, instead of just knowing God and communicating with Him. Thanks for drawing this out!

    1. Katherine – I think Jesus talked with His Father.
      Sometimes I think I talk at Him.
      And sometimes I don’t know what I’m talking to Him about, which is why I’m trying to be more aware of my heart.
      Thankfully, though, He always knows, even when I’m not so sure. 😉

  6. My dear friend– You’re changing so fast that I see blurred edges around my image of you. God is amazing and you are so consistently listening. It’s a joy to watch.

    By the way, I love the new gravatar, too. It captures what I mean better than I could say.

    Wonderful post and one that makes me want to step aside and listen to my own prayers. That’s possibly the ‘take home’ for me. Thank you, wise one.

    1. Heidi – I can’t count how many times I’ve prayed “I pray” since I wrote this post! And honestly, I’ve found I don’t always know what I’m saying/asking. I so want to be more mindful of my thoughts and words and prayers and heart.
      And thank you for taking the picture. 😉

    1. Thank you. You know what I did right after I posted it? I was praying for someone and launched right into my “Father, I pray…” 😀
      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but I did have to laugh at myself – and ask myself what it really was that I was saying?
      It’s a journey!

      1. I know-I do the same thing. I believe the conditioning was how I was raised as well. I agree, there is nothing wrong with that as long as I am true to my self and in prayer where the honestly and reflection really need to count. Thank you again for your lovely post Debbie.

  7. Debbie, I told Jen that if there were a “Debbie Branson” religion, I would follow that! … — and i pray you don’t take this comment as blasphemy! I don’t think you will … because you are learning, exploring, and deeply devoting your soul to religion (or grace) from the ground up, from your core out. Your wisdom and compassion and down-to-earth, (yet heavenly) words are music to my ears and food for my soul. I really love how you approach Grace. Peace. Love. Self-awareness and accountability. So beautiful.

    Now i need a fork to make me L A U G H !!!!! oxoxoxox Love you so much, and THANKS for the puppy!!!! xoxoxoxox Mel

    1. Mel – Well, my generous friend, you know Who I follow and you’re always invited! None of it’s my idea.
      Yet another C.S. Lewis thought (I can’t think of the exact quote) that I love is that Christianity is too unbelievable to be made up!
      Next time you head to Fork I think you’ll laugh, but more at than with. 😀
      I did my own art work this time. I have no idea why. I can’t even draw a stick figure.

    1. Thank you, Debby. How kind of you. I struggled with this, not wanting to offend or be didactic. I’m just trying to be more present in my praying.

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