My friend Ron and I talk a lot about prayer. He says he thinks of prayer as a “conversation already in progress.” I’m not sure exactly what he intended when he said this, but it reminded me of the phone system my family had when I was a young child. We had “party-lines.” Two to three neighbors had different phone numbers, but the calls came and went on the same shared lines. My mother might pick up the phone to make a call and hear her neighbor in the middle of a conversation. She would hang up and wait until the line was clear.
Maybe prayer is like having a party-line. But instead of hanging up when I pick up my prayer phone, I join the millions, maybe billions of other people, already in conversation with God. I can start talking or I can be still and listen.
I guess I’ve always imagined a private line to God. But I like the idea of a party-line. All of those prayers from all around the world swirl around and cover me. Even if I can’t find the right words for my own prayers, I imagine there is someone, somewhere with the exact same need as mine. Their prayer becomes a prayer for me as well. This gives me the courage to “always pray and not give up.” (Luke18:1 NIV). I join the faithful and worshiping masses in a conversation already in progress.
Sybil MacBeth ©2010