Talking to walls, imaginary friends, and God

Thursday, July 26, 2007 0 clicked here to leave a comment
I talk to myself.
A lot.
So much so, in fact, that I refuse to tell therapists about it for fear that they will begin to medicate me in ways that make my mind fuzzy.
It's not that I'm still talking to my imaginary friend Lupin from when I was four. And it's not that I hear voices that no one else does. It's just that I think by talking things out. Finding myself in the absence of living people I often talk to trees, walls, lamps, anything really. And I am quite comfortable with this reality because my Grandmother always told me, "Talking to yourself is fine; answering yourself... not so much."

The reason that I bring this slightly embarrasing skeleton out of the closet is that many people say that when they pray they feel as though their words go no higher than the ceiling. They feel like they're talking to a wall. Or a lamp. Or perhaps even an imaginary friend. Who hasn't felt like this on occasion? As a matter of fact even people in the bible were accused of being crazy for praying.

In first Samuel 1 we find that a woman named Hannah is praying in the temple. The bible describes it this way, "Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. [The priest] thought she was drunk and said to her, 'How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine.'" And that was from a priest! But don't worry, the priest gets old and fat and falls off a wall. Like a cross between Humpty Dumpty and the Pope. But I digress...

There is so much in this passage that is incredible, but as we think about prayers and what happens to them there are two things in this passage that stand out. 1.) Hannah was "pouring out [her] soul before the Lord." Her prayer was about more than words. It was the overflow of the attitude of her heart, which in this instance was grief and anguish. Prayers don't have to "go to God," He is present all the time. He is with us, so talking to Him can be like talking to any other person. 2.) Prayer changes things. It changed things for Hannah in a huge way (read 1 Samuel 1 to find out how...), and at NLC we believe that prayer still changes things! Talking to the lamp or the wall has never changed a thing. But with God prayer changes things.

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