I was told this story by one who claimed to be in the room, so I'm asserting that it's accurate. Bill Moyers was Lyndon Johnson's Press Secretary. Moyers was known to be a Christian and was asked by the President to pray before a luncheon. In the middle of the prayer, Johnson yelled out, "Bill, I can't hear you!" Moyers responded, "Mr. President, I wasn't talking to you."
Unlike Moyers, I'm not very good at praying with other people around. In fact, I don't like to do it. I don't even like saying the blessing at Thanksgiving, and have written about it before here. Some people, though, are really good at it. They're articulate and sound very sincere, if not super spiritual. Some can even pray using the King James Version when God was "Thee" and "Thou." That's cool, but not for me.
Don't get me wrong; I'm a fan of prayer, but have found it to be more listening, waiting, expecting, and receiving. In this sense, practicing meditation here has helped my prayer experiences. It made me realize I don't have to say as much as I thought, but I do need to regularly show up and pay attention. Only then does prayer seem to impact my life in meaningful ways. I appreciate the way Richard Rohr describes prayer when he writes, "God stops being an object of attention...and becomes at some level your own 'I am'. You start knowing through, with, and in Someone Else. And then your little 'I Am' becomes 'We Are.'"
During a visit here at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp, a close friend asked if we could pray together. I said, "Sure," even though my experience with "prayer doubles" hasn't been any more productive or meaningful than other public prayers. Well, the experience was one of the most sacred and powerful events I've had in a long time. I was lifted up and wrapped in love and sensed God's protection as never before. It was one of those "We Are" experiences that Rohr writes about. Afterwards it was, "Wow, did that really happen?"
Maybe prayer is like tuning a musical instrument. Once it's in tune, you go...Ah!