"I need to put you on hold for just a moment..."
"Hello? Um-hmmm...you know, I'll have to get back with you on that...can I put you on hold?"
"Yes? I see...I have another caller on hold, so I'm going to put you into my voice mail; give me your information, and I'll get back with you."
"Are you still there? I'm sorry -- I hate doing this -- I need to put you back on hold for just a moment..."
"Hello? I'm sorry -- now I have to answer the other line. Let me put you on hold...."
This is what I've been doing with, or doing to, The CEO, lately -- toggling the hold button of my prayerful attention on and off; mostly on. "I'll get back with you -- really I will." (I wonder if The CEO reacts to "Your call is very important to us..." the same way I do when I'm waiting on a phone line.) My intercessory prayer life is somewhat better, although some days these prayers are pretty truncated as well (one night my entire conversation with God consisted of this: "Please help my friends. You know who they all are and what they all need. Thanks. Amen.") But when it comes to communicating with God in a focused, transparent, heartfelt way, and creating space for God to answer -- some days there's just no there there.
I was going to try and render this thought into an amusing written dialogue between The CEO and myself but -- got nuthin'. Except this prayer by Henri Nouwen -- one of my pastor's professors back in divinity school, I just found out -- who has often given me words when I've had none of my own. Nouwen prays:
"Why, O Lord, is it so hard for me to keep my heart directed toward you? Why do the many little things I want to do, and the many people I know, keep crowding into my mind, even during the hours that I am totally free to be with you and you alone? Why does my mind wander off in so many directions, and why does my heart desire the things that lead me astray? Are you not enough for me? Do I keep doubting your love and care, your mercy and grace? Do I keep wondering, in the center of my being, whether you will give me all I need if I just keep my eyes on you?
"Please accept my distractions, my fatigue, my irritations, and my faithless wanderings. You know me more deeply and fully than I know myself. You love me with a greater love than I can love myself. You even offer me more than I can desire. Look at me, see me in all my misery and inner confusion, and let me sense your presence in the midst of my turmoil. All I can do is show myself to you. Yet, I am afraid to do so. I am afraid that you will reject me. But I know — with the knowledge of faith — that you desire to give me your love. The only thing you ask of me is not to hide from you, not to run away in despair, not to act as if you were a relentless despot.
"Take my tired body, my confused mind, and my restless soul into your arms and give me rest, simple quiet rest. Do I ask too much too soon? I should not worry about that. You will let me know. Come, Lord Jesus, Come. Amen."