Is it just me, or have you ever noticed that the alphabet soup that floats around in your head – those randoms thoughts, worries, decisions-to-be-made – always make more sense and seem to work themselves out into a reasonable form when you say them aloud? When I talk things out with Kevin or a friend, I always feel better, like I have a better grasp on how to handle things. I’ve found this to be true in prayer as well.

I’m a prayer-walker. I often wonder if people in the neighborhood peer out their windows at me as I walk down the street, thinking “there’s that crazy woman again, talking to herself”. The dog loves it – he thinks I’m talking to him! I don’t really care one way or the other, because I like praying aloud. I stay on track and focused.

I had a book recommended to me (shocking, I know!) that is really amazing. Perhaps as a child, you read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. She’s written a slew of books and is a Christian author, even though you actually find her stuff in the required reading section in public school libraries! She also wrote a book called Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art, in which she addresses the heart of the artist (all mediums) in relation to Christian beliefs. If you are a creative soul, then read it! She wrote a passage in the book about prayer that really struck me.

When the work takes over, the artist is enabled to get out of the way and listen. Getting out of the way and listening is not something that comes easily, either in art or in prayer. Before I can listen to God in prayer, I must fumble through the prayers of words, of willful demands, the prayers of childish “gimmes”, of “help mes,” of “I want…” Until I tell God what I want, I have no way of knowing whether or not I truly want it. Unless I ask God for something, I do not know whether or not it is something for which I ought to ask, and I cannot add, “but if this is not Your will for me, then Your will is what I want, not mine.” The prayers of words cannot be eliminated. And I must pray them daily, whether I feel like praying or not. Otherwise, when God has something to say to me, I will not know how to listen. Until I have worked through self, I will not be enabled to get out of the way.”

I like that. I understand it. It’s what my “talking out loud” prayer walks are all about. It enables me to get out of my own head and listen, hopefully producing more beautiful “art” in the way I live my life.