The Secret To Prayer

The Secret To Prayer

A Story by Eric
"

I think I�ll concentrate on listening to the prayers of people when they bathe, I see them better naked; people are truer when they�re vulnerable.

"

 

I was speaking with God this morning when he started weeping. The pressure of answering everyone’s prayers is more than he can handle. Who can blame him? 
 
I pour him a cup of coffee and we talk at my kitchen table.
 
Apparently, the sheer volume of prayers has reached the point he needs to prioritize. So, he jots down a few notes on a napkin: answer first the prayers of the devout then the wicked. Next, answer the prayers of the middle aged – the elderly and the young are, frankly, unrealistic. 
 
God says, “I think this will help.”
 
I, on the other hand, am not so sure. The problem with prioritizing is that it never really ends. Once you start, there’s an ever increasing need to organize, to categorize. But God’s not in a state to hear my reservations. I offer a weak smile.
 
“I think I’ll concentrate on listening to the prayers of people when they bathe, I see them better naked; people are truer when they’re vulnerable.”
 
Now I’m uncomfortable. I recall curling into a fetal position on the floor of my shower last week. I catch God’s eyes and something like understanding passes between us but thankfully, nothing is verbalized. 
 
God covers his face with his hands, “It was all so much easier in the beginning. It was good, then.”
 
The wind rattles the kitchen window, startling God.
 
“I suppose I need to get back to work. Thanks for the coffee.”
 
“You’re welcome.”
 
The air trembles and God disappears.
 
I stop praying for the next few days, a few less prayers for God to worry about. I’m hoping this wins me brownie points. 
 
Watching news over the next few weeks, I notice the lead stories becoming silly – panda births, everyday hero stories, giraffes birthing giraffes, octogenarians swimming the English Channel, hippos being born, and so on. There’s a noticeable lack of serious news; God’s plan must be working.
 
Weeks pass one by one like box cars on a slow moving train. Eventually, God intervenes in my situation, but, his Pinocchio fingers slip and my grandmother dies. To explain himself, he shows up at my kitchen table. This time, he makes the coffee.
 
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for Vera to pass.”
 
A cold wind rattles the kitchen window startling me. My shoulders shudder.
 
“I was intending euphoria, I suppose I overshot.”
 
God is speaking in whispered tones but all I hear is distant thunder. 
 
“What you experience as death, I see as birth. And what you experience as birth, I see as a kind of death.”
 
Finally, words make their way to my mouth, “Don’t break my heart with your explanations.”
 
“I’ll just go, then.”
 
“Fine.”
 
The air trembles and God disappears.
 
Weeks pass slowly like watching water boil.
 
Presently, I’m sitting before a cedar desk, before a white coat with dangling stethoscope, before an x-ray with a darkening spot, before a knowledgeable mouth awkwardly announcing, “You have cancer.” 
 
“How bad is it – how long do I have to live?”
 
“Three, maybe four months.”
 
I need to get back to my kitchen table.
 
For three inconsolable days I wait for God, wandering through the rooms of my apartment wondering in which one I’ll die. Drop dead on my bed, drop dead on the linoleum, drop dead on the hardwood – startling the infinite places a finite space has on which a body can drop dead.   
 
Sleet flicks my kitchen window.
 
My coffee pot percolates.
 
God does not show.
 
Thirteen steps to the bathroom from my kitchen table, I shuffle them slow. Turning the water on, I undress. Stepping into the shower I kneel, head bowing heavy.
 
I sense God’s reluctant presence on the opposite side of the shower curtain.
 
Naked, I pray wordless prays. 

© 2009 Eric


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Featured Review

Eric, this has to be one of the best pieces of work I have read on here for a long time. It is excellent. I am sure it is so relatable to all of us who get the opportunity to read it. Only God can prioritize how prayers will be answered.
Novena after Novena, some get answered, some don't and we began to question him, or we quit for awhile... so true how we react, we shouldn't because he already has everything mapped out. I really enjoyed this, into my favorites.
Thank you Emily for sending this my way.

Tony

Posted 11 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Great story telling. This did justice in the realm of getting the message across. Great message. There's lot of times where a story can have a great message to aim for, and have a lot of under lining things but then no one gets it, and if no one gets it, then the point has failed. But in my opinion this did well to get the message across. You made it clear, which is why I think it's good. Keep up the good work. What was also great was that I could imagine the story as I read it, and that is also a strong point of stories. The ability to have the reader imagine it because after all we're reading not watching it, but it was as if I was there as I read this, and that is great. Great visuals and great story telling. It had plot and substance. When you add substance to writing it gets that much better. It gets the reader hooked on it and make them feel as if they are part of it. As long as their is that emotional connection between the reader and the story then it's good. The connection you were able to established in the writing gives the reader a sense of comfortably that they are in tune with the writing. So that way when the writing is over, the reader wants more, and wishes it didn't end. I feel the same way when I watched a movie or tv series that I get so attached to, I never want it to end. And for this writing, I didn't want it to end. You had me hooked, and I am sure everyone else who read it was hooked as well. That is good, that is what you want for people to keep wanting more. The way you put the story together makes me feel like my life is different for that moment in which I read your story. I love it, and it was beautiful. Just keep posting stories like this, and you'll have a good following.

Posted 4 Years Ago


As arresting and attention-getting as the subject of the piece. A fascinating and well-wrought modern fable if I ever read one. Not a word is out of place. bravo!

Posted 9 Years Ago


My heart wants to write something about prayer, or more specifically, why I cannot pray. As I try to wrap my mind around the poetry that should be flowing. I remembered your words and traveled here to remind myself what your narrator says about praying. I will find it, eventually. That thing I want to say. And, it could be, that there was another reason I was drawn here today. I've got to send a read request. The wonderful thing about favorites is that even when someone closes their page, you can still get to the words you loved, if you claimed them as your own when you first found them.

Posted 9 Years Ago


came to see these words again, i love them

Posted 10 Years Ago


This is good, Eric, very good. 'People are truer when they're vulnerable' is such a true statement. Tightly written and top notch.

Posted 11 Years Ago


This piece of work was truely amazing. A defeat that not even god himself could stop. I loved id adored it a conversation between a loving belver an dhis master . Tremendos so happy this was entered into my contest

Posted 11 Years Ago


found my way here again this morning by some sort of divine providence . . .

what an amazing set of words!

Posted 11 Years Ago


Hi Eric :-) It is so good to have you and your skill back here, I caught one of your reviews on another piece. This is an intelligent write as always. God's ways are definately not ours, but with a little thinking power added to compassion we could figure out his schedule as you have tried to do very well here. I do disagree with one of your assumptions, it struck me that he would give the wicked priority over the devout, only because they need it more.
I love the idea of this and I am hoping that the 'spot' isn't yours?
Beautiful work...

Helen.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is interesting, a new outlook on prayer. The only problem I had was when you wrote...

"The wind rattles the kitchen window, startling God."

I find this makes God seem a little too frail as to be startled my the wind.



Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Eric, this has to be one of the best pieces of work I have read on here for a long time. It is excellent. I am sure it is so relatable to all of us who get the opportunity to read it. Only God can prioritize how prayers will be answered.
Novena after Novena, some get answered, some don't and we began to question him, or we quit for awhile... so true how we react, we shouldn't because he already has everything mapped out. I really enjoyed this, into my favorites.
Thank you Emily for sending this my way.

Tony

Posted 11 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.


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Added on June 23, 2009
Last Updated on June 24, 2009

Author

Eric
Eric

NY



About
I love my wife and children, New York City, unusual books, off-beat movies, meaningful music, broken people, unexpected friendships, sentences that begin with the word "and," used book shops, modern a.. more..

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