Let's Pray

June 21, 2014

Matt Fitzgerald

"Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?" - Psalm 139:7

Last Wednesday I took our two youngest kids out for dinner. We rode our bikes to a place halfway between the Hancock building and our home. I looked across the table at my kids who were all red cheeks and sweaty heads. And I felt overcome with gratitude.

At home we thank God before dinner. We join hands around the table and pray. Nothing elaborate, but it happens religiously.

But not in restaurants. I don't pray in restaurants. I've never thought "Why not?" Maybe I don't want anyone to feel awkward. Maybe I think religion is a private matter. Maybe I don't want to feel awkward myself. Maybe I believe God is only alive inside the church and at my dinner table? Maybe I have a problem.

None of these thoughts entered my mind on Wednesday night. I just felt grateful and full of love. So I said, "let's pray" and I closed my eyes and bowed my head and immediately regretted it.

The world's skepticism came roaring into my mind as I started mumbling a prayer. I felt embarrassed. And I heard "Dad!" I know, I know, you're mortified. I mumbled faster. A second voice, "Dad!" I opened my eyes and looked up. And here is what I saw: my two youngest children, holding hands, each with an arm stretched across the table waiting for my return grip.

These two little Christians, happily living out a truth they learned in church: God is alive and good and everywhere. Even inside the empire, even halfway downtown on a Wednesday night.

Prayer

Dear God, thank you for following us everywhere, even out to dinner. Amen.

About the Author
Matt Fitzgerald is the Senior Pastor of St. Pauls United Church of Christ, Chicago, IL.
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