Down on My Knees
One reason people pray on their knees is because if they’re lying in bed, praying, they sometimes fall asleep before they get to Amen. I have a bad habit of falling asleep before I finish my prayer. It’s difficult when I’m sleepy to keep focused and carry on what seems, at times, to be a one-sided conversation. But I know God is listening. And I know a quiet place is essential. Jesus says, “. . . when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Standard Version, Bible, Matthew 6:6)
I decide sometimes to get down on my knees beside my bed to pray. It’s a little easier to stay awake. I clasped my hands recently and began, “Dear God, first of all, I want to thank you for the lovely day you gave me.” In a moment, my son came skidding into the room, interrupting.
“Did you lose something? What’re you looking for under the bed?”
The next time, I remembered the part in the verse about closing the door, so I did, and locked it–at least until I heard the dog scratching at it.
I don’t purposely begin to pray, get to the middle of it, and fall asleep with my words hanging, and I don’t always mean to leave the rest of my prayer for the Holy Spirit to send on to God. “. . . for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26) But I pray: “Dear God, forgive me for everything I did today that wasn’t kind. Forgive me for making my daughter angry because I wouldn’t let her drive my car. I was only thinking about her safety. You know what I mean? I know You do. Still, it’s hard to explain. See, I want to give her a little independence. She’s a teen now, and You know how teenagers can be. But we have a conflict of interests here. She doesn’t understand what it’s like to be a worried mother. Well, I’m sure You know all about that, but what I mean to say is. . . .”
I’ve lost track, and the next thing I know, it’s morning, and I never finished my prayer.
I decided to try praying in the morning then. Simple solution. Just pray in the morning! I should be praying more than once a day, anyhow. What’s the matter with me?
So I began: “God, thank You for understanding. I’m sorry I fell asleep last night before finishing my prayer. I must be awfully tired. Thank you for helping me and for being there for me. Forgive me for all my sins. I can be so petty sometimes. But I have faith in You, and I know You will always provide for me and my family. . .”
Our dog, Sugar, jumped up on my chest and licked my face. My lips moved as I prayed out loud, and she stuck her long tongue on my teeth. My teeth, for crying out loud! I closed my mouth and continued to pray silently, my lips not moving, but Sugar decided to shut me up. She sat on my face.
Well, I haven’t given up. I’m persistent, and persistence pays. I decided I would pray in the morning, lying in bed, and pray at night, down on my knees, and I would pray in between all the chores and activities each day, a little here and a little there. Next time I got down on my knees, though, I couldn’t get up. I crawled around the room, and the dog followed me, her nose nudging me along.
Finally, I plopped down on my rump and began to laugh, while Sugar nosed my hair. I hugged her and buried my face in her soft fur. “It’s all right,” I said. “God understands. I think maybe God already knows what I want to pray about every time.” He knows my every need and want before I open my mouth. The Bible says so: “. . . for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:8) Yes, Jesus Christ says so, and that’s good enough for me.
That doesn’t mean I’m to forget about praying, just that He knows what I need and knows how to help. He has the answers for everything, even when we can’t see a way through our problems. Even when we fall asleep. But He still would like to hear us talk. So I won’t give up, no matter where I am, up or down, for God is patient, kind, and He waits for me, never giving up on me. I need only to believe in Him and thank Him for His blessings. I see God smiling and laughing. He has a great sense of humor. So warm and comfortable, our God! I think maybe that’s why I fall asleep too soon. Because talking to God is like snuggling under the covers of clean sheets and lying my head on a soft pillow, all fluffed up and warm. So I’ve wrapped myself in His arms for the night.