A post by one of my favourite female bloggers reminded me that I was never very good at praying out loud. Unless it was by rote. I could say The Lord’s Prayer with the best of them, but coming up with one of my own was usually quite challenging.
I admire people who can pray at the drop of a hat. Like a soloist improvising on the original tune, some people can be counted on to build several different tomes on your basic prayer. When I was younger I realized that all seasoned “prayer warriors” began their supplications with thanks for the “bountiful blessings” and concluded by asking for “journeying mercies” at the end.
Because we all had to leave at some point.
I used to be a member of a religious singing quintet, and we had no problem at all divvying up the non-singing duties based on our other skills. So someone would volunteer to do the public relations, another would act as the treasurer while someone else did the secretarial duties. Luckily there was someone in the group who had a natural talent for prayer and the rest of us eagerly gave her that portfolio.
When she left the group we were rudderless for a while, but just as we did for speaking before each performance we decided that everybody should have a “turn” at leading the group in after-practice prayers.
And the struggle was real.
It’s said that if you want to improve a skill you look at what others are doing and practice doing it. I say there’s no shame in realizing that there are some things that you won’t ever be good at.
Like the prominent local musician who, before knowing his way around a keyboard, was a member of a youth group to which my sister-in-law belonged. She remembers when it was his turn to say a prayer in his own words and they all bowed their heads in anticipation.
It wasn’t long before the giggles erupted as he stalled early in the prayer – unable to get beyond “Our Father”, which he repeated several times. And then since nothing else was forthcoming he continued “…which art in heaven” and, well you know the rest. But like I said, he found something else that he was better at.
Years later, I’m still passing off the prayers to those who can do it better than I can. At family dinners there’s always the one or two (well really one person) who is always called upon to say the grace.
Because I really, really hate eating cold food.