"Ok. Bye." WHAT did I just say?!? Did I just say bye-bye, adios, Ta-Ta, Auf Wiedersehen, farewell to God? Yes. Without a doubt, I did. Seth told me so. There was a moment of silence before Caleb tried to suppress a laugh. Seth joined in and before I knew it, my eyes misted over as I clutched my side in raucous laughter. The more I thought about it, the more I laughed. And the more I laughed, the more the boys did the same. It was ridiculous. But, I bet God laughed, or at least snickered, as well.
Was I irreverent to say "bye" rather than a hearty "amen" at the end of my prayer? If I was, I certainly didn't intend to be. I know we are to approach the throne of our King with piety and great consideration. But I know that this heavenly King is also a Father who wants us to approach often and without hesitation. Do we not say hello and good-by to our fathers when coming or going? Why not with God the Father?
Sometimes we think that we have to go through some elaborate process to speak to God. I also think we make it too complicated. I once had a pastor who suggested we never say a final "amen" at the end of a prayer because it is, well, so final. It's as if we can take a big 'ol red pencil and check off that box on our to-do list. But what if we didn't say amen but rather utter, "Bye-bye. Talk to you soon" just like we do with our friends? Do you think we would leave with the expectation of continuing the conversation? I do.
Let's be careful not to compartmentalize prayer as if it should only occur in church or in special times of need. Keep the lines of communication open regardless of day of the week or time of day. Anticipate a great conversation. Listen for His call and respond on bended knee. . . or in the car, the cereal isle, or the repair shop. Anytime. Anywhere.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.