Praying With Vulnerability

February 8, 2018
By Rev. Steven Brumbeloe, Associate Minister, Mt. Bethel North

Brene Brown, a researcher in the field of sociology, and specifically in the areas of shame and vulnerability, was speaking at an event concerning vulnerability. To prepare, the sign language interpreter asked her if there would be any unusual words that might be difficult to translate into sign language. Brene thought for a moment, and then asked to see the sign tor “vulnerability.” The ASL translator bent her middle and index fingers to demonstrate the sign for “weak in the knees.”

Brene Brown knew that translation wouldn’t quite work, because vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. So the translator informed Brene that there is one other sign for vulnerability—open hands at the heart.

I understand why Brene Brown chose the second option. Open hands at the heart is a much better sign. Vulnerability is not a weakness, but indeed a strength. But maybe there is one discipline of the faith that could combine both signs: weakness of the knees and an open heart. The discipline of prayer.

What pleases God the most is when we fall on our knees and open our hearts to Him. He loves when we become vulnerable to His guidance and direction. Too often, we are like my little boy Levi who loves to try to do everything on his own. He loves to say, “I’ve got this.”

Often, our prayers go in one of two directions. Our prayers are either, “Lord have mercy,” which means, “Lord, I need you guidance and direction”; or, “Lord, I’ve got this, just bless the decisions I’ve made.”

Jesus, in teaching His disciples how to pray, said:

“Pray like this:

Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
 May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
 Give us today the food we need,
 and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
 And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.
(Matthew 6:9-13)

This is a prayer of vulnerability—a model we are to follow.