To often we do not pray. We find other things to do than to actually stop the madness of the doing and just sit and wait upon the Lord. I once heard a story of African converts who were earnest in their times seeking God that they would each choose a place in the thicket of tall grass to go and communion with the Almighty. As expected, over time, these paths to each individual’s place of private prayer would become well worn. If one of the believers began to neglect their time in prayer their path would begin to grow grass. Everyone would know that they have not been spending time in prayer. A polite admonishment to this brother or sister would be “Brother, the grass grows on your path.” This statement would be enough to communicate that others were concerned about this individual not spending time in prayer.
It was during one of these flesh-activated-to-do-list-dominating-grass-growing-on-my-path times that I had been neglecting my prayer times that I was led to pen this poem.
I showed up one day unexpectedly.
There I stood looking around.
It was by accident that I had come… or was it?
My mind was full of questions, my heart full of joy.
I had been here before.
It was familiar, yet excitingly new, fresh, distinct!
The warmth, the love, the joy, it was thick.
I smiled, closed my eyes, and embraced the moment
I feared to open my eyes lest it all vanish away.
He was there.
I suddenly felt my body bow in reverence.
He had always been there.
I had not recognized this truth.
It was not just warmth, love, nor joy that I was feeling
It was Him.
When I realized this I suddenly felt
“I don’t belong.”
I wanted to get out, but wanted to stay even more.
His gaze was upon me, though I did not return it.
My head hung in shame.
I was overwhelmed.
He lifted my head.
He said I belonged.
He had a question…
“Where have you been?”
Truly the concluding question, “Where have you been?” is for all of us that have misunderstood prayer to be some mystical portal that requires a certain set of combinations to appropriately enter into. MaryKate Morse’s book, A Guidebook to Prayer dispels all such notions and provides for us a guidebook complete with exercises that can be done in a group setting, with a partner, or solo. With 24 different prayers divide into three section corresponding to the Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit there are prayers that truly guide the reader into The Place where He is, waiting for us to come. As MaryKate states, “Prayer is a love relationship involving the interdependent union of the Trinity.”
I enjoyed each section of the book as it provided background teaching to set our minds aright and awaken our intellect, but MaryKate was also king in providing personal testimonies that kept us tethered to the personal reality that prayer is. As she noted Augustine’s conclusion that “the primary presence of the Holy Spirit is love, not knowledge.” It is in this love relationship that we find the voice, the dance, the music in our spirit that is God Himself communing with us.
From sacramental, to Pentecostal (praying in tongues) to the contemplative prayer MaryKate provides so many ways to enter in. We ought never have the excuse that we did not know the road to pray. So, my intellectual friend, have you ever heard the Lord ask you the question, “Where have you been?”
 MaryKate Morse, A Guidebook to Prayer: Twenty-Four Ways to Walk with God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2013), 17.
 Ibid., 168.