Yawn Of The Dead

A terrible, terrible thing happened the other evening. Fionnuala and I have been trying to get into the routine of praying together every night before we go to sleep. What with the chaos that is sharing a house with three kids and a border terrier dog this is often the only oasis of calm in our otherwise hectic schedule.

Anyway this night had been no different than any other. I had finished praying and Fionnuala was, as ever, performing the ‘sweeper’ role of praying over the many matters that I had overlooked. It had been a long day and while I try very hard not to ‘pray by numbers’ this had not been my most scintillating conversation with God.

As Fionnuala prayed I endeavoured to stay focused but, before I could curtail it, a yawn began to form in the core of my being. Realising that this was a virtual death sentence if I let it pass my lips (God would forgive me. Fionnuala I wasn’t so sure.) I fought valiantly to suppress it. But it was like a broken pencil. Pointless. And the yawn rolled resplendently out of my mouth, reverberating off our bedroom walls.

Yawning during prayer. A new low in my Christian journey. What next? Belching as the sermon is in full flow? Bottom burps as the collection basket is being passed round? 

After wheedling and grovelling my way into my wife’s good books (Did you just yawn there?!? During my prayer?!?!) I apologised profusely to God as well. I mean how rude. Imagine if you were talking to your best friend and they let out a mighty snort in the middle of it. You wouldn’t be best pleased I would imagine. 

The good news for me is that I don’t have to apologise to God. I can yawn, sneeze, laugh, cry or hyperventilate during prayer. He doesn’t care. He just wants to hear from us. And the most natural and direct way to do this is via regular prayer. 

For many years I was burdened with guilt and secrets. Bogged down in sin. Depressed and despairing as it gnawed away at me. I tried to soften the pain. Alcohol, food, social media. I danced with all these addictions. I danced until my heart and the hearts of my loved ones were battered, bruised and eventually broken.

But now I pray. I don’t let it fester. I don’t let it eat me from the outside. I dealt with my OCD through medication and talking about it to Fionnuala. I deal with my other worldly worries now via the spiritual medication of prayer and chewing the fat with the Lord. 

There are several theories as to why we yawn. One is that it occurs when the bloodstream has excessive levels of carbon dioxide and needs to expel these and replace them with oxygen. Prayer is a bit like that too. Getting all the junk out of our minds. Handing it over to God and replenishing our minds and souls with the life affirming oxygen of the Holy Spirit.

So if you ever pray and a yawn sneaks out don’t beat yourself up too much about. God understands.

As for your wife however….

When is your favourite time to pray?

When did you last have prayer answered ?

What is your most embarrassing prayer experience ?

14 thoughts on “Yawn Of The Dead

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  1. Actually had a small but awesome answer to prayer yesterday. Two of the grandkids were over and one of them was missing a shoe. Four adults searched for more than an hour for that shoe. He hadn’t gone far. Where could it be? Finally I suggested to the boys (ages 3 and 4) that the three of us pray and ask God to help us find it. I kid you not within 5 minutes we found that shoe in a place where we had looked several times. What a great example to them of the power of prayers. And to us adults to.

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  2. My most embarrassing prayer experience would probably be when no music was playing during prayer time and my stomach just decided to roar especially loud, for a number of seconds.

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  3. Ok first! Thanks for this. My biggest concern in my spiritual walk is my prayer life. I always regret not making /taking the time to pray.. Even if it’s short and sweet, it’s better than nothing, right? But I’m not like that. If I could write to God.. Which there is no rule saying I can’t.. But there is something about spoken communication that takes it to next level. Our voice, being lifted from a 1 square foot area on a big blue ball suspended in the universe, by the very One who created it. There’s such a simple but profound moment of truth in that. And yet; It’s my biggest conflict.
    I’d like to think my prayers are answered everyday. My worst fears are not losing my house or job, but my children – and I have anxiety that causes serious worry about what may happen to them.

    My favorite time to pray is alone in the car, it seems to be the only quiet place I have.
    The last prayer I had answered directly, was when my husband went on a business trip about a month ago. I’m not a morning person, but he is – so he does the morning routine and also let’s me sleep because I have such a physically demanding job. So I prayed – serious prayer for the next 3 days, to help me get up and get the kids ready and to school on time, as well as myself. So the first night I prayed God would let me sleep, but not too deep. It was perfect. Second night – I prayed to get a great night’s rest, and it was the best sleep I’d had in a long time.

    I am so thankful for how real you are. Being real about your sin, struggles, and humanity and about the truth of how God sees us.. Yet we can barely forgive each other. Says something about society in general.. But keep up the awesome blog. Y’all are an inspiration and a great help to me.

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    1. Thank you for the encouragement. Have you thought about keeping a prayer journal and writing out your prayers? That way you can look back on them and see how and when they were answered. We are trying to be as real as we can on this blog. It’s really encouraging to hear that it is helping you. 😊🙏🏻

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  4. My greatest desire is my family to be saved – all of them. When I pray for them, I know God hears and answers yes to sending the Holy Spirit to be with them.

    I sometimes find it embarrassing to talk with God about some subjects, like sex or bodily functions. He created these things, but I’m still embarrassed.

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