When you love someone, you come to know them well. You anticipate their wants, understand their worries, remember their stories. You pray for them in the natural, unforced way you pray for yourself, sharing their hopes, mirroring their concerns, dreaming their dreams.
Our loved ones open up these mammoth files in our heads and hearts that become part of ourselves, part of our hard drive, as we fill up on God and God fills up on us.
“Lord, you have searched me out and known me; you know my sitting down and my rising up; you discern my thoughts from afar,” is the opening of one of my favorite prayers, Psalm 139. “Indeed there is not a word on my lips, but you, O Lord, know it altogether… Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain to it.”
In prayer we make ourselves known to God as we make ourselves known to our loved ones. At the end of the day I am ready to hear the minutia of the day from my wife, Carol, as she, bless her, is ready to hear the nagging stuff in my head.
Were I a better spouse, I would remember all of what she says. At the beginning of the day I dump a pack full of worries on God, some of them surely silly and foolish, in that same process of sharing and over-sharing. God “knows it altogether,” but these are the conversations of loved ones.
The other day Carol was fiddling with my computer, trying to link it to the printer, and she asked me, “What’s your password?” Now there’s something I’m quick to forget—even when the password is the name of someone I’m praying for. “My password for my laptop?” I asked. “I don’t remember that. I put it in years ago.” Had I written it down somewhere, the way I write down the list of people I’m praying for on a yellow Post-it note? No. It wasn’t anywhere to be found.
Carol kept fiddling. “I’ve got it,” she suddenly announced.
“You do? What is it?”
She told me—and no, I won’t say what it is, for obvious reasons; that would be really over-sharing. She knows me. Our loved ones do, as God does, often better than we know ourselves.