I pray at the kitchen sink more than anywhere else.
I think it’s something to do with the soothing warm water and the fact that washing dishes is a focused task. Compared to, say, cleaning up the living room, which has me rabbit trailing between toys and books and the old carpet stain I keep meaning to re-treat and the nagging reminder from an overstuffed basket that I need to sort through the mail.
At the kitchen sink there are only dishes and soap suds and my thoughts.
Late at night while the household sleeps I straggle into the kitchen between cleaning up and bedtime to find peace in a sink full of waiting dishes. And before I know it I am turning over more than cups; I am sharing what I find in the back of my mind with the God who meets me in my unconventional kitchen.
So it is that as I rinse my bright red frying pan I find myself praying desperate dreams for the future
I pray for what I want, but rarely for what I have.
Until I was recently reminded of this verse: “Ask rain from the Lord in the season of the spring rain, from the Lord who makes the storm clouds, and he will give them showers of rain . . . .” Zechariah 10:1 (ESV).
In the season of rain, pray for rain.
And suddenly it’s New Year’s Eve 1999, and I’m back on a dry game farm in Zimbabwe surrounded by farmers who haven’t seen decent rain in months. These sun-weathered men sit in their rough clothes at a long table that’s been set for dinner under the Southern Cross. The soft linens and delicate place settings are a quirky contrast to those seated before them ready to toast in the new millennium.
The first course is cucumber soup.
But with first bites come cold, hard drops. The soup ricochets up at those dipping spoons down into it. Rough faces and beards are splattered green. Cucumber soup everywhere but in our mouths.
Rain. Long looked for rain pelts down from the clouds that are our only ceiling tonight. I prepare to make a dash for it – to shelter and warmth and the inside of the lodge.
But I am the only one to move.
A table of grown men carries on their meal as the rain falls down and the soup splashes up. The thunder and force of the water is so loud that it crowds out any attempt at conversation.
But their actions speak louder than words and my father interprets them for me, “They won’t leave the rain, because they don’t want it to leave them.” In the season of rain, they want more rain. And they are afraid if they get up it will be over.
With soap suds up to my elbows I lean on the sink, remembering.
What I have now is once what I wanted so desperately: healed marriage, healthy children, the beginnings of meaningful work. I don’t want to lose sight of these in the chase after my next prayer request.
In the season of rain – still – pray for rain. Presume nothing; take nothing for granted; treasure everything.
Because, once the rain begins and sends soup splashing all over you, it’s tempting to walk away from the answered prayer and move on to the next thing.
I do not want to do that.
I want to sit and revel in what God has given me here and now. I want it to splash up and onto and all over me. I want to pray for its protection and its continuation.
Daily, between soap suds and dirty dishes, I want to pray for what I have.
How about you – what were you once desperate for? What have you been given? What do you need to remember to treasure?
Let’s sit out in the rain and share, shall we?