On Sunday, the sermon notes were about prayer. I saw up on the screen that we tend to view prayer as asking when God actually designed it as relationship. It’s better to get to the point quickly than to fill the space with lots of words. So I went to the Bible references. 1 Kings 19 is the part where God speaks to Elijah in a still small voice. Gotcha. Then there’s Matthew 6 which boils down to “don’t babble on- a few simple words will do.” Then it hit me. That’s how I talk to my special needs son. If I try to lecture my WigglyAngel, he will become self-abusive. However, if I get to the point in as few simple words as possible, WigglyAngel will get it. He is much happier. WigglyAngel taught me that it is possible to have a meaningful relationship without words. He showed me that communication can come in many different forms. I never realized that God also wants me to talk to him that way too and it’s funny how God used my son to teach me how to better pray. I went searching in my Bible for more references and I found:
Psalm 66:17 I cried to him with my mouth,
and he was exalted with my tongue.
Psalm 95:2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
1 Corinthians 14:15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.
Interesting. I am to cry to God with my mouth and my hands (ASL) and God is exalted when I cry to him. This is prayer? I vent to God, but I never correlated those intense moments with being in prayer. When I am in an emotional mindset, I vent in my language, my hands fly everywhere, my heart wrenches open, and I can feel God responding, even though there aren’t words involved. He is my still small voice, only… it isn’t a voice. It’s a presence in my heart. As a deaf person, I can sense people behind me by the way the air feels. It’s kind of like that with me and God, only from within. I can sense ripples within my soul. This is similar to how I communicate with WigglyAngel. When I place him in a restraining bear hug to prevent him from further self-abusive behavior, I sense subtle changes in his body, his temperature, his pattern of chest rising and falling, even the way the rumbly vibrating of his gut tell me how he needs me to hold him to help him regain control of his body. I like to think that God is doing the exact same thing with me and that’s why we are so attuned. It’s a relationship without words. I know my son and he knows his momma only wants to help. All this, without words.
I am to come into God’s presence with thanksgiving, making noise with songs of praise. That seems to balance the other how to verse on crying out to God. Although I can vent to God, I’m also supposed to thank him for the very things I am venting about with songs of praise. But what if I don’t want to use words. That’s okay too… I can pray with my spirit and my mind. My son is nonverbal, but that doesn’t mean he cannot pray. He can pray with his spirit and mind. This evening, I took my son out for a walk. I was focused on just getting around the block, but my son forced me to dawdle. To grab all the dandelions he could find in the neighboring yards. To make me blow them while he stimmed with the seeds. That’s when the sermon outline hit me. This is prayer. WigglyAngel is worshiping God’s creation by his autistic stimming taking apart the tiny seeds of the dandelions. God knows the number of hairs on his head and he also knows the numbers of seed heads that my son just sent scattering into the wind.
Now, I do not believe that God caused WigglyAngel to have Angelman Syndrome. That’s due to the fall of Adam and Eve that imperfection came into this world, but God is still glorified in imperfectness. God used my WigglyAngel to bring me closer to God by teaching me a better way to fellowship with Him, therefore, enabling me to witness to my son and bring him to our God. I cannot make my son believe, but I can bring him to the Living Water and let him taste it.
Now, my Snicklebritches, she’s entirely another story for a different post. It’s fascinating how both my children have autism, yet be polar opposites of each other.