“Um….. er”

Photo by Ismael Paramo @ Unsplash.com

May I start this post with a personal question? Are you an ‘um’ person or an ‘er’ person? We all recognise those hesitations and the situations in which they happen: when we’re feeling nervous, answering a difficult question or just playing for time. We’ve all been an um’ or an er’ person at some time haven’t we?

Hesitations can be annoying, even embarrassing but one situation where hesitations don’t matter is when we’re praying. We can hesitate as often as we need to. We can also stumble, repeat ourselves, get frustrated, even get angry.

None of that matters because God always knows what we want to say, even before we’ve started trying to say it, even when we can’t find what we think are the right words.  

Going back to ‘um’ and ‘er,’ I’ve always been an ‘um’ person but I discovered recently that, in one very important way, I’m an ‘er’ person. And you are too ….

I was sitting in the chapel in my local church. In front of me was a table with a box for people to drop prayer requests into, together with some blank cards for them to write their requests onto.

Next to the box was a partly obscured label which I read as saying ‘Pray Cards.’  I realised that it actually says ‘Prayer Cards’, my brain almost instantly supplying the missing ‘er’ but it opened an interesting train of thought.

We call people who run ‘runn – ers,’ people who swim ‘swimm – ers’, people who write are ‘writ – ers’; there are, of course, many other examples.

I’m definitely not a runn – er and I’m a very slow and rather splashy swimm – er but I would call myself a pray – er: people who pray must be pray – ers, right?

But, see what happens when you put the two parts of the word pray – er  together. You get the word prayer. If I’m a pray – er, then I’m also a PRAYER. What an amazing thing to be!

What a wonderful calling each of us has. All of us who pray, however inexpertly and whether individually or with other people, have this in common. As well as being pray – ers, we’re all living, breathing prayers.

As we walk past a homeless person in a shop doorway, stop and admire (and feel out of breath at) the stamina of runners pounding the local pavements or sidewalks, bow our heads as a funeral cortege passes on the street, read the papers or follow a news bulletin, we’re bringing prayer to that situation even when we’re not consciously praying. We simply are prayers.

Let’s go through our lives, coming alongside others as a prayerful presence, without any hesitation or uncertainty. We don’t need any special skills or training.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re an ‘um’ person or an ‘er’ person; someone who sometimes forgets what they want to say next or can’t find the right words to use.

Simply be …… and the world will be richer for you and your amazing life as a living prayer.


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