One of the pastors of the church we attend in Los Angeles spoke this weekend about prayer. For the first 2/3 of the talk, I felt like I was attending a lecture at Fuller Seminary. It was a lot of factual information from the Greek about the early church and so on. I guess my attention span isn't what it used to be because I had a hard time paying attention.
Eventually, the pastor broke into the third part of her talk, telling us a story about the first time she met her first grandchild. It was endearing. It was funny. She told us about how this grandson is now 8 years old and wants her to tell him this story every time he sees her. He now has a little brother, and they want to hear the first-meeting stories over and over, trying to figure out who Gramma loves best based on her reaction to their sweet, infant selves.
I found myself tearing up, thinking about the day I get to tell Abe the story of the day we first met him, how he'll get to hear about the times each of his grandparents met him for the first time and how loved he is. This pastor then said that this is what prayer is: our getting close enough to God to let Him retell the story of what it was like when He first met us, how beautiful and funny we are to Him, how much He loves us. As our pastor said, when someone is telling us about how much they love us, we all want to hear more. The older we get, the more we feel that we're supposed to hide this impulse to hear about our belovedness, but we do want to hear. We want the conversation to continue; we want to hear more.
This image of our pastor telling her grandkids about how in love she was with them upon first meeting will, I think, be forever connected in my mind when I think of prayer. And it makes me want to pray more, not to ask for things but to listen and try to believe that I am loved the way a grandmother loves her grandson, even more so in fact.