The Connection of Mess and Prayer

Last week we wrote about the word mess with the Whole Mama link-up. I wrote about how the messes in our lives have a way of shaping us, as we choose where to look and what gifts to search for and what paths to take. I shared about how I believe there is beauty in each unique expression of creation, even, (and sometimes especially,) when it is chaotic.

This week, the subject has turned to prayer. I want to point out the connection between mess and prayer, because they are linked. Prayer is what it looks like when I gather up the mess: the tangles of my questions, doubts, beliefs, hopes, successes and failures, and drop them in a haphazard pile at Jesus' feet.

"Here, Jesus. I can't seem to sort this out on my own. Will you take it?"

It's quite the interesting prayer life. I am always conscious of living before the face of God. I've never not known the Presence. I've never needed to hide anything from God. Everything is on the table. My prayer-without-ceasing is most often a wordless prayer. But when I do attempt words, it frequently begins with that jumbled up mess.

It's hard, because I want to believe in God's goodness, but the story I'm in hasn't let the light pour in as steadily as I've been looking for. I haven't made peace with this, and no amount of human words will get me there anytime fast.

Yet somehow in tension with that, I know this: Jesus is trustworthy. Love is trustworthy. And nobody has ever tried harder to prove their love than he has. It's a love that threads through every layer of my life, weaving silver flecks of hope into all the dark and difficult spaces. It's a love I hope to convey to my children, holding it out with an open hand for them to take when needed. It's a love I need to accept as well, even when I feel unlovely.

This is why I keep showing up to prayer. I tried to give it up. I actually held out for over a month. There are some things that call me back to them in spite of everything: things like music, and poetry... and... then there is prayer.

A few months ago, I taught an ecourse on prayer through the book of hours. I designed it both to help people establish a habit of prayer and to write their own prayers for observance throughout the day. It is my goal to teach it again before the year is out, but I might need a few extra tons of intercession to make that happen. I'm stretched pretty soul-thin right now. However, I do have a Mini Prayer Book that I created for one full day of praying through the hours, and I want very much to share it with all of you participating in Whole Mama. Because I KNOW HOW HARD IT IS to scrape together a little bit of time to just step into a moment of quiet shalom. I want to help ease that burden. This is my love bomb to all of you, linked below:

A Heart of Prayer {mini prayer book}

Feel free to pass it along to any of your friends you think might benefit from it. Share the love. Spread the hope.

With love,


Linking up with Esther Emery. And don't miss this post. There is a wonderful gift inside: a video interview with Sarah Bessey and Esther Emery. You. Will. Love. It.

Jamie Bagley