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Keeping Things Stupid Simple

Keeping Things Stupid Simple

The best advice I ever received about communicating was the acronym K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid!).  I don’t always take this advice – which is not the advice’s fault but my own. Most preachers I know don’t either.

Something happens when you get behind a mic: either you freeze or you open up the fire hose and can’t shut it off. Most folks I know speak too long (including me). When was the last time you heard a sermon and said, “I wish that was longer?”

Perhaps that is why I have enjoyed meditating on Ann Lamott’s “Three Essential Prayers.” (It’s 114 pages)

She writes: “Prayer is taking a chance that against all odds and past history, we are loved and chosen, and do not have to get it together before we show up.”

“…Prayer means that, in some unique way, we believe we’re invited into a relationship with someone who hears us when we speak in silence.”

“…Most good honest prayers remind me that I am not in charge, that I cannot fix anything, and that I open myself to being helped…”

Prayer is that mysterious thing, isn’t it?

Prayer is that thing we do when we say or think something and send it in some direction, whether inside ourselves or out into the cosmos, and we hope that someone in there or out there is listening and that they can do something about it.

Prayer is essentially not about us; that is why we tend to complicate it. Humans tend to try to control things that are uncontrollable. Or maybe it is better said this way: humans like to trick themselves into thinking they can control things that they have no ability to control.

All right. I’m the one now who is complicating things…

I once told a group of high school girls that describing a relationship with Jesus was like describing a kiss. It doesn’t sound all that appealing when you hear about it, but if you’ve ever tried it for yourself, you know how great it is.

I don’t think they heard another word I said.

Back to prayer. Keep it simple, stupid.

Ann Lamott’s three essential prayers…

They are:


Those three words are so helpful to me.

Help is what we pray when we finally acknowledge that we can’t handle things on our own.

Thanks is what we pray when we realize that it wasn’t us doing the work anyway.

Wow is what we pray when we get a glimpse at how big and beautiful God is.

That pretty much covers it.

Make it a habit to pray each one every day. Keep it stupid simple, and watch God do his thing.

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Ned Erickson

Ned is the Founder and Executive Director of the Winston-Salem Fellows, a non-profit dedicated to equipping people to live seamless lives as they grow into the men and women they were created to be. He is the author of four books, including the critically acclaimed novel Clay. He, his wife, two children, dogs, rabbit, guinea pig, turtle, and chickens live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

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