“… a man went to the sage, RamaKrishna, saying ‘O Master, I don’t know how to love God.’ … and the sage asked him if there was anything he loved. He said, ‘I love my little son.’ And RamaKrishna said, ‘There is your love and service to God. In your love and service to that child.” — from Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese.
There are many days when I don’t know how to pray. All that makes sense to me is loving my daughter. So I pray by changing her diaper, holding her while she sleeps, comforting her when she’s fussy, endlessly breastfeeding her, playing with her, reading to her, cleaning up after her. I let my parenting duties be a constant litany of thanksgiving to God, for this gift and this great responsibility. Mostly I just feel grateful for every moment I have with her. Of course there are the things that make me very grumpy — having to get up insanely early, having to pump (oh the dreaded breastpump), the layers of filth that now consume our apartment floors as we never have time/energy to clean them. But in general I really enjoy being with her, and I let our time together be a conversation with God. It is just a presence that washes over me as she sleeps on my chest, or as I dance with her, even when I have to suck the snot out of her nose and she cries. There are no words, just simple actions and being in the present moment — there’s nothing like a baby to bring you into the now!
This is the best form of prayer I know.