One of my Mother’s favourite expressions during my young life was, “Wait till your father gets home!”
My relationship with my dad was one of love and respect, but I didn’t really know him. He was my father.
It wasn’t until he decided to take up sailing that our relationship began to develop. I remember going out with him and my mother for a race, early in our sailing careers. I was at the bow of the boat trying to figure out what I was supposed to be doing and my dad was at the stern, with the helm in one hand and the sailing manual in the other. He spent the whole time shouting at me, telling me what I should be doing. When you are out on the water and wind, you have to shout in order to hear each other. When the race was over, and we had became the boat to beat and everyone did it, my mom derided my dad for yelling at me.
“Alan, stop yelling at Doug, he’s doing the best he can.”
About 10 years later, my mom again raced with us, but this time there was no yelling. In fact, Dad and I said very little to each other. We won the race. After, my mom derided me! “Doug, are you angry with your father? You never said anything to him the whole race!”
By that time, I knew what my dad was thinking and vice-a-versa. We had been together so long that we had become like an old married couple. We knew what each other was thinking. My dad and I had a beautiful relationship and I was crushed when he passed away. He was my best friend. In fact, I asked him to be my best man at my wedding. But, it took some time to develop that kind of rapport.
I wonder if we know Jesus and God, as well as we know our friends. If we pray at all, are our prayers like the Reader’s Digest kind of prayers, short and sweet? When I was young, I prayed a standard kid prayer: Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep and then I’d rhyme off a list of family. Amen. Then it was off to sleep. And that was it for many years. As an adult, my prayer time was exactly like that of when I was a kid. But, who was it that I was praying to? Jesus, when he prayed, called God, Abba or poppa in our lingo. How did Jesus get so familiar with the God of all creation?
We know that Jesus prayed often. It was his habit to go up onto a mountain, by himself and pray. Even on the night he was betrayed, he was in a garden, praying. He knew the tensions of the day and asked for a few friends to stand watch. They fell asleep. He woke them with these words, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour?” A WHOLE HOUR! How many of us pray to God for a whole hour? And yet, if we did, then we would find ourselves within the aura of God and we would know God, better.
Relationships are built on the time we spend with each other. As with our friends, so it is with God. Spend time with God and find peace for your soul. Reach out to Jesus and lay your head on his chest and hear the very heartbeat of heaven. Prayer – relationship building time. God knows you, get to know God, as a friend. God bless you all.
Doug Pilsworth is a retired United Church minister.