Do you remember the Tom and Jerry cartoon where Jerry’s a Musketeer, and he gets his nephew Nibbles as an apprentice? Nibbles begins, “Bonjoooour, Monsieur Jerrie!” and then talks and talks and talks and talks and talks….
(at about 1:07 you’ll see what I mean.)
Yesterday I mentioned that book on prayer divides it into four types: adoration, penitence, gratitude and petition. On reflection, I realized the author left out my primary mode of prayer: blather.
Early on I realized that God knew He was great, and I didn’t want to sound insincere. (Seriously, don’t tell me that’s stupid. I know that’s stupid. I’ve been told that’s stupid. God knows I’m sincere and I can’t possibly flatter God. I’ve got that. I still have a mental block.)
But I also wanted to move toward “disinterested prayer” (ie, not treating God like the Almighty Bellhop, as Nina says) and I figured the best way to do that was gratitude and penitence. Except after a while, of course, even God would get fed up with endless “I’m sorrys” and “I’m a slug” comments. So I worked on thankfulness, except that slipped out of past tense right into present.
Hence: blather. I talk to God about random stuff. Whatever. “Hey, God, look how pretty that is!” “God, this is so much fun.” “God, I don’t really want to do the vacuuming now. But I guess the vacuum fairies haven’t shown up for the last 14 years, so they’re unlikely to do so today either. Now, where’s that hose attachment…? Oh, there it is. Thanks.”
You can see that’s not really prayer. And God’s not actually the one who got the brunt of this. My guardian angel was the special recipient of this treatment, during one very tender year where I started talking to him nine days after my sixteenth birthday and stopped for breath when I was almost eighteen. Those were the days when he’d realize I was about to wake up, pop three Excedrin, set his watch alarm for six hours, and then put the bottle and a travel cup into his pocket.
(You think I’m kidding. Track the angel down in heaven when you get there and ask him if I’m kidding. Bonjoooooour, Monsieur Angel!)
(In the interests of fairness, I think he wants me to tell you that I am, in fact, kidding, and I did not really annoy him continuously for nearly 24 months.)
Who else got this? St. Raphael the Archangel appeared before God in early 1992, I imagine, shaking and pale. He looked God in the eye on the Throne of Glory and whispered, “She talked for 45 minutes. And she only wanted a date for Valentine’s Day.”
And God folded His angel in his arms and said, “There, there. I’ll give her a husband, how about that? Then she won’t bother you for a date for Arbor Day.”
My point being: blather. Chatter. Talking because talking can make you closer to someone, and banter is one way I say “I love you,” and it isn’t really in any of the four categories of prayer used by sensible, sane, holy people.
I hope God is amused, at least.