Prayer Can Be ... Being Present to Another

Clustered growth.

One of my favorite things in the world to do is be present to another person as they’re sharing their heart.

Whether we’re sitting together on the couch, connecting across the miles by phone, or sharing an email exchange, I love the experience of receiving another person’s heart and giving them the experience of being truly heard and seen.

God seems to have given me an uncommon ability to do this:

  • Asking questions that help a person probe deeper into their heart, feelings, beliefs, and experiences; 
  • Reflecting back what I hear so they find themselves saying, “Yes! That’s exactly it!” and feel that amazing, uncommon rush of having been actually known;
  • Providing space for the “real deal” to be said without a flinch or agenda offered in response;
  • Getting out of the way so my stuff and my story don’t interrupt or detract from their sharing.

I love being made this way. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that God made this attentive listening the focus of my life’s work now. (And if you need someone to be present to you in this way, consider this an open invitation from me.)

But sometimes, when being present to another person, the way forward becomes unseen. I find myself, with them, stuck in the brambles. There isn’t a clear way through. 

Usually, at this point, I discover the end of myself. And the next step forward is truly a Hail Mary pass: 

“God, help. I don’t know what to say. Please show up.”

Pretty much every time, he does.

In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced God not showing up after I prayed that panicked plea. The conversation takes a turn I never could have foreseen or orchestrated, and I know that God has been there. He showed up in ways beyond me.

Have you ever experienced prayer when being present to another?