Yeah, I’m already aware.
God is renowned in Judah; in Israel his name is great. His tent is in Salem, his dwelling place in Zion. There he broke the flashing arrows, the shields and the swords, the weapons of war. – Psalm 76:1-3 (NIV)
When I pray, I sometimes feel like a newscaster listing off serious events going on in the world. “God, there is catastrophic climate change all around,” I might call out to the Divine. When I catch myself doing this, it always breaks me out of my prayerful mode.
A voice in my head snidely points out that God is, in fact, already aware of what is going on in the world. There is not a sparrow that falls to the earth but that God knows about it. So why am I playing the role of an evening news anchor informing the Almighty of the day’s goings on? This bothers me about my prayer life; it makes me feel somehow frivolous.
But then I saw this passage from the Book of Psalms. And here in the prayer book par excellence, we see the psalmist informing God about all sorts of things that God already knows. God’s renown in Judah? Yeah, God is already aware of that.
Maybe I need to cut myself some slack in regard to my prayer life. Maybe I need to let the prayers flow from my spirit in whatever form they take, not worrying about gussying them up before bringing them to the Almighty’s attention.
If you’re like me, and you beat yourself up over your prayer life, take a lesson from the Book of Psalms. Just pray. Because even if your prayer life isn’t perfect, God is already aware of that.
God, thank you for hearing our prayers with grace and love.
John Edgerton is Lead Pastor at First United Church of Oak Park, Illinois.