The Prayer I Didn’t Know I Was Praying

Yesterday I was asked to be “sneaky” at work. My conscience reeled. And I asked again, “How did I get here?”

Fitful sleep and awaking with dread, while getting ready for another day of it, I turned on the cd I’ve been listening to every morning on the way to work. And then I realized I’d been praying this each morning…

“You who live in heaven
Hear the prayers of those of us who live on earth
Who are afraid of being left by those we love
And who get hardened by the hurt
Do you remember when You lived down here where we all scrape
To find the faith to ask for daily bread?
Did You forget about us after You had flown away?
Well I memorized every word You said
Still I’m so scared, I’m holding my breath
While You’re up there just playing hard to get

You who live in radiance
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in skin
We have a love that’s not as patient as Yours was
Still we do love now and then
Did You ever know loneliness?
Did You ever know need?
Do You remember just how long a night can get?
When You were barely holding on
And Your friends fall asleep
And don’t see the blood that’s running in Your sweat
Will those who mourn be left uncomforted
While You’re up there just playing hard to get?

And I know you bore our sorrows
And I know you feel our pain
And I know it would not hurt any less
Even if it could be explained
And I know that I am only lashing out
At the One who loves me most
And after I figured this, somehow All I really need to know

Is if You who live in eternity
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in time?
We can’t see what’s ahead
And we can not get free of what we’ve left behind
I’m reeling from these voices that keep screaming in my ears
All the words of shame and doubt, blame and regret
I can’t see how You’re leading me unless You’ve led me here
Where I’m lost enough to let myself be led
And so You’ve been here all along I guess
It’s just Your ways and You are just plain hard to get”

– Rich Mullins’ “Hard to Get”

3 thoughts on “The Prayer I Didn’t Know I Was Praying

  1. David Hardy April 12, 2013 / 9:01 am

    Matt,

    I found your blog via Internet Monk some time ago.

    This post of yours takes me back. From July of 1997 until March of 2001, I listened to this same song every night as I drove to work (a job I was horrible at and hated)–most of the time I cried and shouted at God wondering where he was in all this.

    I don’t really have any words to offer that would make it better for you in this moment. I remember people I loved trying to make it better–they just made me angry–they were in a place that wasn’t dark. I wanted so bad to be out of the darkness, but couldn’t figure a way out.

    There were no quick fixes–I was at that job for almost 4 yrs (an eternity it seemed). Changing the direction of my life was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Honestly, it even sucked for about 2-3 yrs after I left my original bad situation. I wish I had some advice that would instantly make things better, but I don’t. I can’t even tell you how to get out–I won’t bore you with my details, but I did make it out. It was hard, and the “good Christian boy” in me wants to be able to say that all those trials were worth it and that God taught me lots during my time in the darkness, but I can’t really say that either. It just sucked, and I stayed angry at God most of the time.

    I’m not sure how you’ll take this email from someone you don’t even know–it’s hardly the most positive thing you’ll read all day. Like I said, I’ve got no real advice, but I have walked this path. Sometimes we just need to know that we’re not alone. Even though you may feel alone, you’re not alone. My heart hurt reading your post, because it stirred fresh memories of my own past. I’ve been where you are.

    Take care of yourself, hang in there.

    David

    • mattbredmond April 12, 2013 / 9:12 am

      I can’t imagine reading anything more helpful today. Thank you.

  2. Gregg April 12, 2013 / 3:17 pm

    Rich had a way of saying the things we all think but never tell anyone we say. And the words he sung, help us all hang on for another day, another moment. The version of him singing this on guitar in that little church on a tape deck is the best.

    A lot like Rich, Matt you have a way of saying those things we sometimes aren’t even honest enough to admit that we think. You help others of us know, we aren’t alone either. There is a banker, a former pastor and he struggles too.

    And that banker isn’t alone either.

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