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!