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Seems Like I Like Salmon

I'm a pro at praying in secret

Megan Preston Meyer
Megan Preston Meyer

Matthew 6:6 But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

I’m super good at praying secretly. I can be walking down the street and I see something and I say a prayer about it and I keep walking and no one is the wiser. I am extremely good at pausing—just for a split second, not long enough to be noticed—before taking the first bite of a meal with friends or colleagues. I say my little prayer, and then stuff my fork in my mouth quickly, so no one realizes what I’ve done. I fast sometimes, and I make sure no one knows it. I order fish when I’m out to lunch on Fridays, and to the casual onlooker, it just seems like I like salmon.

So yeah, Ash Wednesday readings, you don’t need to tell me about being secretive. I can be secretive like a pro. What I need is more encouragement to be open.

What if I people knew I was saying grace before I ate? What if people knew I don’t eat meat on Fridays, and not just because it’s good for the environment? What if people knew that I pray, and that I fast, and that I read the Bible, and that I’m a Christian? What if my friends knew? My colleagues?

I met a friend the other day, and I wanted to bring up Christianity with him. I think he would like Mere Christianity, because he is very logical, and I was going to bring him my copy. But then I thought it would be weird, and it would have been, because our conversations have always been historically about techy things or data things or corporate things or optimizing. If I just marched up and said hi and started evangelizing, it would have been weird, and it wouldn’t have been effective and it… it just wouldn’t have worked.

So I didn’t. We did talk a little about church, in the context of algorithmic trading, stock-picking, and ESG-fund limitations, but I didn’t ask him to accept Jesus Christ as his personal savior. Or even C.S. Lewis.

So there we have it. This tension that keeps growing, trying to make me open the door. I’m an Episcopalian, not an Evangelical, darn it!. I shouldn’t have to talk about God! But I do. And I should. And it’s scary.

But God knows it’s scary. He sees that secret. And I’ll keep working on bringing it to light.