Some of us who grew up in Evangelical Christian subcultures began learning how to pray using annoying little acronyms. They were meant to bring order and structure to those of us who would fold our hands, bow our heads, and then immediately begin making grocery lists. These acronyms were mostly helpful, until they weren’t.
Here’s my favorite:
A – Adoration. God needs lots and lots of attention and words from you in order to feel OK, so fill up at least a page of your “prayer journal” by telling God how awesome God is. If it’s helpful, use Awesome as an acronym to tell God how awesome God is! A – All-powerful! God you are the most powerful person ever! W – welcoming. God, you’re so welcoming… and wonderful! We called this the “acronym within the acronym” trick. (No we didn’t, but we should have).
C – Confession. Rub your temples vigorously as you conjure up your past sins in excruciating detail. Beat your breast. Don’t miss any! And… coffee! Yes, I have to get coffee when I’m at Target.
T – Thanksgiving! There is so much in your life to be thankful for, so turn that frown upside down. It’s Thanksgiving every day in the courts of the Lord.
S – Supplication. Incidentally, this could be the greatest word in the English language. But regardless how you feel about the merits of the word supplication, this is the chance for you to pour out all of the things that other people have asked you to pray about (Sue, I will pray for you about that), which you have agreed to do. So get to it. Use lots and lots of words to describe each situation, and exactly how you would fix it. God likes that kind of micromanaging.
Frankly, I would add another C, and it’s for cranky.
Most of us need to learn how to be a little crankier, especially with God. We need to stop pretending things are better than they are. Unless of course things really are better, then by all means, wear “T” out.
In the famous story of Mary and Martha, the two sisters that host Jesus for lunch that day, we are told that Martha is a worthless busybody who only cares about stupid things like feeding people, while Mary has transcended silly things like that. Mary is better, because she is content to simply sit at the feet of Jesus and learn. So, we are told in roughly 525,600 sermons that the point is to stop being busy and just sit at the feet of Jesus.
Go for it, single moms!
What I find so beautiful in this text is that Martha struts right up to Jesus and gets really cranky, right to his face.
“Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” (Luke 10:40, NIV)
Martha’s remark reflects an intimacy that must have existed between her and Jesus that is stunning. He’s a teacher, respected in the community. She’s a nobody. Yet she feels completely fine ranting to him about what’s unfair in the world, and in her own house. Who does this? I love it. She probably needed to learn a few things about slowing down. Whatever. She clearly was very close with Jesus, and that is what I find most captivating about this story.
The psalmist writes, “In the evening, and in the morning, and at noonday, I will complain and lament, and he will hear my voice” (Psalm 55:18).
So get cranky, people. Unless of course you’ve transcended silly things like that.