There was no time to pray this morning. Happens a lot.  But I know, the minute I hit freeway gridlock, my prayer-life will take on new wings.  Goes something like this: Turning down the car radio, I grip more tightly to the wheel.

“Dear Lord (I begin), thank you for my family (I name them each).  Please take care of Christian today, during his Science test.  I know we studied, but you know how easy it is to forget.   Take care of Jimmy in San Francisco, as he works with the Tide people on their commercial. . . . . “  (Did I turn off the iron?  I can’t remember, I think I did — but I can’t remember!)

I sit up straighter in the drivers seat and continue talking to God:

“Help Cody with his reading.  Let me find a way to get him interested in reading — it’s so important . . . . (How can I help him get into another reading group?  We work together all the time — whenever he doesn’t have a hockey game.  Grief!  I wonder — does he have a game tonight?  Did I wash his jersey?  And if I didn’t wash it, where is it?  Come to think of it, where is Christian’s jersey?  I hope I didn’t leave them in the van — because the van is in the shop and the shop is closed.  The kids will be so upset if I cannot find them . . . . .

“S’cuse me, Lord .  About Kelly:  help her on this job as she learns all the aspects of filmmaking.  She may be almost grown, but she still is such a concern to me, Lord.”   Pause:    (Look at that guy in the red         Porsche.  What a jerk!  He just cut me off — and I know he saw me.   He thinks he’s great just because he drives a Porsche . . . . ) “Sorry, Lord.   Where was I?”   (. . . . .  must be great to drive a Porsche . . . )

And suddenly I realize,   I left God back on the Exit 6 Underpass,  where I started answering my own questions, and solving my own problems.  Come to think of it, I didn’t solve a thing.  I just went off on a wild tangent — first to this worry, then to that worry.  Now I am totally confused — because I can’t remember what I gave to God and what I kept for myself!!

It takes time and concentration to ‘pray without ceasing’.  I have had a shortage of both lately. But just because I do it badly —  does that mean I should never do it  again?

Snacks and meals are a regular part of  life.  I became aware of the difference when I became a mom. Meals are a 7:00 am — noon — 6:00  pm kind-of-thing.  MIssing snacks is no biggie.   Missing meals is.  Without meals you experience a loss of energy, and a surge of crankiness and jitters.

Snacks are generally an “as-you-desire-sort-of-thing”. Sweet or salty, they satisfy a craving.  But almost always they are quick.  Often, geographical.  (How far are you from Starbucks, QuickTrip or the hard candy at the bottom of your purse?)

Meals planning requires time, and usually involving something from the “Basic-Five.” First, make sure you have everything you need in one kitchen.  Then, set aside time for pre-production, production and post-production to prepare, deliver and digest.

Snack or Meals?  Is one wrong and the other is right?  To some, perhaps.  But I don’t think it matters to God.  He knows that most of us are not structured enough to stick to the ‘meal schedule’ . He honors the meals and the snacks.  If we only have the ‘snacks’, we will end up short of what He intends to give  us.   If we only have ‘meals’, we will miss some of the unedited honesty and expression of a completely open relationship with Him.

And that’s really what it is all about:  A close, personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  He wants our praises (Psalms 100, 113 and 117).  He wants our requests (Psalms 3,55, and 86)  He wants our sorrow (Psalms 5, 6 and 120).  He wants our anger (Psalms 35, 109 and 140).  He wants our confession (Psalms 6, 32 and 51)

So enjoy those fragmented, sweet, salty and spontaneous ‘snack prayers’. Goof ‘em up, get back on track.  But don’t ever miss the ‘meal prayers’. They take time to prepare and a place to park.  And they are worth every ounce of effort.

And whether you prefer snacks or meals . . . . “Pray without ceasing.”  I Thessalonians 5:17

copyright Judi Collins 2011; used by permission from her devotional entitled “Snacks and Meals.”