Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

One Lousy Prayer’s Thoughts on Prayer as Spiritual Formation

"God, I want a Barbie doll for Christmas. Can you add that to your list?"

It is hard to be honest as a minister about the fact that I am not very good at praying.

Sure, I do it.  Most mornings these days I sidle up next to Jesus with a cup of coffee and a passage from Scripture.  Some days there is a long laundry list of intercessions: “Please bless Kay and Dan and their upcoming marriage;” “please help the family with the child who has leukemia;” “please help Cam listen to his teacher today;” “please help me figure out what I’m going to do when I grow up.”

Other days, the inclination to sit in the silence of a centering prayer soon devolves into a long, painfully protracted reminder of my mind’s ability to focus on anything but Jesus.  There is the laundry waiting to be folded, the next chapter of the book to be written, and the parent-teacher meeting to attend, after all.  Jesus is somewhere in the midst of it all, albeit hard to find.

So I’m not a very good prayer.  Contrary to frequent misconceptions of pastors by parishioners, I am not a “professional” prayer, either. But these days I have been thinking about the nature of prayer as spiritual formation.

My daughter, Sam, was diagnosed last year with something called “low muscle tone,”  which our family soon discovered is a “catch-all” term for a condition that doctors don’t really understand.  Sam underwent a number of tests with the referral of a pediatric neurologist. The neurologist told me that if the tests came back “negative,” meaning no other underlying condition was present, she would diagnose Sam with “cerebral palsy.”

The tests came back negative.

If you’re still processing the “cerebral palsy” part, then you can imagine a bit of this mother’s reaction when she first heard the words, “cerebral palsy.”  The jaw dropped.  The eyes widened then blinked.  Time seemed to stand still for a few minutes before I responded.

The doctor then assured me that “cerebral palsy” can be as minor as a scar on the brain that heals over time with lots of therapeutic intervention at an early age.  That helped a bit.

On my darker days, when Sam’s condition causes me to wonder where she’ll be not one year but five or ten years from now, I am reminded of the story of the blind man in John’s Gospel (John 9).  ”Who sinned, this man or his parents?,” the disciples ask Jesus.  Jesus answers that the man was born blind, “so that God might be glorified.”  (If truth be told, I sometimes secretly wish that God wouldn’t have to “glorify” God’s Self so much.)

But “low muscle tone,” in addition to giving God the glory, has meant frequent and regular trips to the physical therapist and now the speech therapist.

Which brings me back to the whole idea of prayer as spiritual formation.  Because these days helping Sam to speak involves refusing to speak for her and letting her do the hard work of pronouncing the words. This is challenging to do as a mother.  Often Sam becomes impatient.  She wants me to understand her without having to do the tough work of asking.  If she is having trouble forming the syllables, or pronouncing them in a way that is remotely comprehensible, Sam is quick to cry.

In some cases, I really do know exactly what Sam wants, but I have to keep encouraging her to say it for herself.  Because ultimately Sam needs to learn how to voice what she wants if she is going to grow into the person she was meant to become.  Depending on me to do it for her before she asks it of me will only keep her stuck in the same rut.

The dialogue might look like the following:

“I want!”

“You want what?”

“I want that!”

“You want that?”  What’s that?”  (“That” is the chocolate milk on the counter.)

“I want that!” (Sam is now getting impatient with herself and me and begins to cry.)

“Do you want the milk?” Can you say, ‘milk’ please?”

“I want the milk, please.”

I wonder if prayer is similar.  Sure, our requests might be a bit more complex than simply, “I want chocolate milk.”  But they are there all the same, and they are often uniquely ours and nobody else’s. “I want your peace, God.” “I need your courage, Jesus.”

And prayer can often seem like a struggle to articulate these needs and desires that our uniquely our own.  Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words for what we most fear or long for.  Our words can seem empty or fall flat or we may find ourselves speechless.  Yet the Spirit helps us in our weakness, Romans 8:26 instructs: “we do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

C.S. Lewis said this of prayer:  “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God- it changes me.”

Prayer changes us.  Something happens when we choose to voice our deepest needs and desires to God for ourselves and let God shape and transform our words and thoughts.  God does some of God’s best work on us, making us into people formed and made for Love.

What does this process of spiritual formation require of us?  Patience, courage and a little self-discipline, I suspect.  Maybe, too, the recognition that we are all like little children with speech impediments.




  • Stacey Lee

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  • penny

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    I promise to share my story

    I am Mrs Becky Kelly from USA; I want to share a testimony of my life to everyone. i was married to my husband George Morgan, I love him so much we have been married for 5 years now with two kids. when he went for a vacation to France he meant a lady called Clara, he told me that he is no longer interested in the marriage any more. I was so confuse and seeking for help, I don’t know what to do until I met my friend miss Florida and told her about my problem. She told me not to worry about it that she had a similar problem before and introduce me to a man called Dr.okoro who cast a spell on her ex and bring him back to her after 3days. Miss Florida ask me to contact Dr.okoro I contacted him to help me bring back my husband and he ask me not to worry about it that the gods of his fore-fathers will fight for me. He told me by three days he will re-unite me and my husband together. After three day my husband called and told me he is coming back to sought out things with me, I was surprise when I saw him and he started crying for forgiveness. Right now I am the happiest woman on earth for what this great spell caster did for me and my husband, you can contact Dr.okoro on any problem in this world, he is very nice, here is his contact (okorospelltemple@hotmail.com) or contact him through his mobile:+2347014203283,

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    my name is ELIZABETH ZELE from United States and i have been trying to conceive for so many years now more than 15years and i have had 2 miscarriages over the years , i went for series of test , health seminars and all that steel there is nothing working for me ,this my situation made my husband get depressed , one day i was stuffing GOOGLE on pregnancy tips and found out how so many women who has have like my situation have contacted ASHRA SPELL TEMPLE the great spell caster online and they got there solution ,

    at first i was skeptical that it was a scam but i just had to give it a try and i never new that it was my moment of break through , i did get the email from one Mrs. Margaret who was help by this same ashra spell to get pregnant , i copied the email and i sent ashra an email and it was replied and i requested for the pregnancy spells after some questions and answer , the items to be used was gotten and the pregnancy spell was cast , the first month passed nothing happened and i was thinking maybe it was just like the others and it was a fair trial until the second month i noticed i missed my period for 11days when i check i found out i was pregnant and i can proudly say to all that am a proud mother of a baby boy now , for all those that think such things are scam just like i use to think is that give ASHRA a fair trial and i say you will never regret it, just like how Mrs. Margaret gave out ASHRA EMAIL THAT I COPIED so am also giving it out , you can contact this great spell caster ashra on email:ashraspelltemple@gmail.com or call +2348058176311 , I hope this information gives some one out there hope and faith




  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment moncia

    I promise to share this testimony all over the world once my boyfriend return back to me, and today with all due respect i want to thank Dr, Kim for bringing joy and happiness to my relationship and my family. I want to inform you all that there is a spell caster that is real and genuine. I never believed in any of these things until i loosed my boyfriend, I required help until i found Dr, Kim a spell caster, And he cast a love spell for me, and he assured me that I will get my boyfriend back in three days after the spell has been cast. three days later, my phone rang, and so shockingly, it was my boyfriend who has not called me for long, and made an apology for the heart break, and told me that he is ready to devote the rest of his life with me. Dr, Kim released him up to know how much i loved and wanted him. And opened his eyes to picture how much we have to share together. As I’m writing this testimony right now I’m the cheeriest girl on earth and me and my fiancé is living a happy life and our love is now stronger than how it were even before our break up. So that’s why I promised to share my testimony all over the universe.

    All thanks goes to Dr, Kim for the excessive work that he has done for me. Below is his email address in any situation you are undergoing a heart break, and I assure you that as he has done mine for me, he will definitely help you too. you can also contact him on this email: fabo.blackmagicspell@yahoo.com

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Gill

    Gill is my name…. I used to think Spell was bogus but after Kim left me I felt open-minded to try it. Maybe I was desperate too. But this is real! In just 48 hours hours, Dr Zogo restored the love we had for each other back. I didn’t expect the spell would work so fast. it has only just 48 hours since you cast the spell and Kim is already after me!! Since last week-end she phoned at least 5 times. I believe she seems to realize her mistakes. It’s absolutely happening as you said!! Thank you! Your work is helping me so much… Without you I would feel so lonely and miserable… Thank you!
    I want to express my warmest gratitude to Dr Zogo. I’ll never ever forget all the happiness you gave me. Each time I’ll go to the Church, I’ll pray for him. I highly recommend Dr zogo to you for whatever problem you are experiencing whether is love, money, pregnancy problem, Divorce problem or psychic powers. He is powerful. You can contact him on zogospellcasters@gmail.com

  • http://themanthathelpme sandra cole

    I was diagnosed with cervical cancer 10 years ago – While i was pregnant! As you could imagine, my pregnancy was stressful and i was ordered to bed rest.I couldn’t get any treatments for the cancer because i was “with child.” After the birth of my healthy son,i had surgery to remove part of my cervis and underwent radiation treatments, which made me extremely ill –So i have to look to the Internet for my last hope ,then i say a testimony about how DR sambo helped mary brown on facebook from her problem so i contacted marybrown because there are so many scams on the Internet with her to confirm if it was true which he is a true healer. , thank goodness.I contacted him immediately for help,so he cast a spell just like a miracle i was healed. I went to see my doctor for confirmation guess what my cancer was no more in me he said.All thanks to you the great spell caster and healer for saving my life i am in tears of joy.i advise you out there with any illness or crisis should contact him now.Description;
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    22. Creams for reduction & Increase of Breasts/Bums/ Hips/Tummy/Vagina Tightening and jaundice.
    Dr sambo of the great benin kingdom contact him :sambospellcaster@gmail.com

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Sarah

    Hello every body, my name is Sarah and i just want to let you all know that having a broken heart is not an easy thing, but no matter how bad your situation may be, i want to let you all know that there is a way to get your ex chasing you around again wanting to be with you, because this is exactly what i did when my boyfriend left me for someone else and i am happy today cause he is back. Mokospellcaster@gmail.com was were i got the chance to get my boyfriend back and i will also want you all to give it a try.

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