Yesterday I listened to my 88 year old mother read a book to a circle of women and girls. It was a beautiful, holy experience. We were celebrating the birth of a baby in our extended family and there was just something about being together, feeling the generational love and connection that overwhelmed me. As my mom read a children's book about the joy of belonging and the beauty of life, I had the realization that I haven't spent enough time gleaning wisdom from this woman. Along with my dad, she raised eight children. Our family is now a small army. I need to be asking her more questions.

This morning I used the book A Rythm of Prayer to pray. It's a book of prayers compiled by Sarah Bessey.

Following are excerpts from a prayer included in that collection. I hope to ask my own mother the question that shapes this prayer.

“She Said, ‘How do you know when you are hearing from God?’”

By Amena Brown

She said, “how do you know when you are hearing from God?”

I didn’t know how to explain

It is to explain the butter grit of cornbread to a mouth that just discovered it has a tongue

The sound of jazz to ears that only ever thought they’d be lobes of flesh

The sight of sunsets to blinded eyes that in an instant can see

To fail at the ability to give words to how the scent of baked bread can make the mind recall a memory

Every detail…

My words never felt so small, so useless, so incapable

I wanted to say

Put your hand in the middle of your chest

Feel the rhythm there…


You don’t have to be inside the four walls of a church to cry out to the God who made you

Because no matter where you sing or scream or whisper God’s ears can hear you…


God’s ears are here for the babies

For the immigrant, for the refugee

For the depressed, for the lonely

For the dreamers

The widow, the orphan

The oppressed and the helpless

Those about to make a mess or caught in the middle of cleaning one up

Dirt don’t scare God’s ears

God is a gardener

God knows things can’t grow without sun, rain, and soil


I want to tell her to hear God

You have to be willing to experience what’s holy in places many people don’t deem to be sacred

That sometimes God sits next to you on a barstool

Spilling truth to you like too many beers…


I want to tell her God is always waiting…

God is always saying

I love you

I am here

Don’t go, stay



I try to explain how God is pleading with us

To trust

To love

To listen

That God’s voice is melody and bass lines and whisper and thunder and grace


Sometimes when I pray, I think of her

How the voice of God was lingering in her very question

How so many of us just like her

Just like me

Just like you

Are still searching

Still questioning, still doubting

I know I don’t have all the answers

I know I never will

That sometimes the best thing we can do is put our hands in the middle of our chest

Feel the rhythm there

Turn down the noise in our minds, in our lives, and whisper,


Whatever you want to say

I’m here

I’m listening


Joy and peace,