It can be difficult to pray in public.
Sometimes it’s a matter of finding the right words.
There is pressure to use attractive words—exotic words with multiple syllables—and the temptation to search for lyrical phrases—and most fun of all, words with a second meaning, a hidden layer to be appreciated by the sensitive listener.
Then I remember. I prepare for prayer, not a recitation.
So I turn to the Sunday morning scripture reading and wonder how to pray this story of Christ's Transfiguration. What does Jesus on the mountain with Elijah and Moses have to do with those we feel alone? How is Peter’s offer to build three tents relevant to those who worry about losing their homes? I imagine the voice, booming out, “This is my son”, and wonder who else in our midst longs to hear the voice of God.
I fall into the story, and stop searching for my words, pretty words, unique words. I listen, and the prayers are there, because we are there in the Transfiguration story. We are the ones awed by the dazzling presence of God in our midst, we are the ones uncertain of how to respond to the events of our lives, we are the ones who need to hear God say, "you are my beloved child."
Is it enough?
Have I gotten past my words, my desires, and stumbled into our prayers? Is it enough?
But it’s not up to me. For when all is said, we will go beyond these words I have written and prayed, and pray together the words Jesus taught.
That will be enough.