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Leaving a Voicemail
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Photo: Studiomill
One down, twenty more to go, I think to myself as I put the phone down on the receiver. I like making phone calls, but leaving voicemails is a new kind of embarrassing torture. I always end up starting with a million "Um"s and ending with a far too enthusiastic "Bye!"

I was volunteering at the office of Habitat for Humanity and one of my many jobs was to call volunteers and homeowners. It was the highlight of my workday to hear a friendly voice on the other end, but the voicemail beep always scared me. For me, it meant stumbling and forgetting my words. Too much pressure.


But, if you’ve ever made a great number of phone calls in one sitting, you know it doesn’t take long to build a “script.” It becomes a familiar pattern: ring, beep, voicemail, ring, beep, voicemail. After five more calls, I had it down.


“Hello! My name is Raquel and I’m calling from the office of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami. I see you are signed up to volunteer tomorrow and I'm calling to confirm that you're coming. Please call our office if you have any questions…” In your name I pray, Amen.


I froze in my seat as I almost let those words slip from my mouth. I hung up the phone and told my fellow volunteer, “So, how about I almost ended a voicemail with ‘In your name I pray, Amen’?”

Thought Scared Me


We both laughed, and I sighed in relief at avoiding a very awkward situation, but then it hit me. Yes, I really had just done that… and I knew why. The thought scared me more than the beep. Is this what my mind equates with prayer? Am I just leaving God a voicemail?

Maybe the reason why our prayer life gets bland is the same reason I hate leaving voicemails: it's the same message over and over again, with a word change or two, and you always feel just a little silly because you’re talking to a machine. And, if we forget our “script,” we stumble on our words and feel pressured to say something good.

Often when we pray, we close our eyes and perform our version of the script we were taught, without knowing that even before we say “Dear God,” He sits up in his chair, leans forward and prepares for a conversation with us. And, all too often, we give Him a half-hearted, one-way monologue.

I needed that voicemail scare to make me realize that I’ve been looking at prayer all wrong, I can’t grow if I continue leaving God voicemails and I won’t stop leaving voicemails unless I realize that He’s there and listening. Like 1 John 5:14 says, "And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us."

When it comes to prayer, there’s no scary beep, no suspenseful ringing and God will always answer.

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By Raquel Levy. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture take from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.


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