Friday, November 2, 2012


When I was little, my idea of prayer consisted of kneeling at my bedside and asking God to forgive me for feeding our dog my vegetables instead of eating them myself (I can neither confirm nor deny if this is an *actual* example or just a hypothetical :).

I didn't really grow up in the church per se (more like in and out) but as a high schooler, I started to go back to church at which point I started to understand a little better the purpose of prayer and how it should be done (which is, there are no rules and there is no "correct" way).  Yet I still had a very ritualistic way of praying, perhaps a bit rehearsed and maybe not straight from the heart.  I remember my Mom gave me a little book of prayers around this time and I picked a few of my favorites out and I said them over and over again, just hoping that God might be listening. 

In college my relationship with God grew quite a bit and I started to really see prayer for what it is - a chance to communicate openly and freely with God - not just about the good things but about the sin in my life, the fears I had, the frustration I felt when things didn't go as planned. 

As with most things in life, my prayer matured with age.  Now my prayers aren't said kneeling at my bedside (kneeling makes my knees hurt...  ;) and they aren't prayers that I read in a book (not that there is anything wrong with that!).  But rather I pray all the time - a lot when I'm running or on my bike on those long 6 hour rides.  I pray in the car and in the shower.  I pray right when my alarm goes off in the morning, that God will give me strength to make the most of this new day.  I pray when I'm making dinner.  I pray in church.  I pray before the gun goes off for a race and I pray during races too.  Really, I pray any time I think to pray.  The good thing about God is, He is always willing to listen.

What do I pray for?  Well I definitely pray for my family all the time.  I pray for Oscar and our marriage, for his very important daily job of shaping the lives of kids.  I pray for my friends, whether they know it or like it.  :)  Sometimes I tell people I'm praying for them but I'll admit that sometimes I pray for people and don't tell them because I don't know how well it will be received.  I've had people ask me NOT to pray for them because they don't believe it makes a difference and they don't believe in God but I still pray for them anyway (because I'm sneaky like that :).  Chances are, if you've met me, I've prayed for you.  :)

I pray for all the people involved when I see or hear an ambulance go past.  I pray for a lot of the patients that I see.  I pray for the doctors that I work with because their jobs are very hard and pressure filled and people's lives literally depend on them.  I pray for my church, for our country, for our goverment.

And of course I pray for myself.  I thank God over and over for all that He has blessed me with, which I'll admit is sometimes hard when things aren't going the way I had hoped, but really is an exercise in perspective.  I ask forgiveness for my lack of humility, the selfishness that creeps into my life, and all the other sin that I fight but give in to.  I ask for strength and guidance in making good decisions (all the little ones for that day and all the big "life" decisions as well).  I pray for help in making sure that I do not squander the opportunities I've been given or the gift of Jesus' death on the cross.  I pray when I'm scared, uncertain, happy and angry. 

It sounds like a lot but it's really not.  It's just a bunch of little mini conversations with God throughout the day.  :)  It's a way to keep in touch with God and to keep myself grounded.  And prayer always helps me rest in the knowledge that God's got my back.  He is always listening and always caring and always loving.

A quick story about prayer.  This year right as the pro men were getting in the water at the Oceanside 70.3 and all the pro women were standing on the pier waiting to go, fellow pro Kristen Andrews turned to me and said "I'll be praying for you out there."  She knew it was my first pro race and that I was likely scared out of my mind (I was) and that simple, small promise just meant the world to me.  I almost started crying (seriously) but instead I think I joked something like "I'll definitely need it!"  In all honesty though, her gesture just helped me to breathe and know that everything was going to be all right.  She reminded me that God was there with us and no matter the outcome, He'd still be there.

So that's my take on prayer.  :)  And one other thing that I'll definitely be praying for - that after reading this, someone who never prayed before or perhaps hasn't prayed for a while, might strike up a conversation with God.  I promise, He's listening.  :)


  1. This was such a nice post Beth :)

  2. I don't always do "religious" posts real good, because I don't always believe the sincerity of it. I don't like religious stuff to get judgy either you know?? A lot of people live with guilt over this or that.

    Having said that though, I think this post was about you. Not trying to change anyone, or anything, but telling of you.

    I think it was a good one. :)

    Have a good weekend.

  3. Beth,
    I am not a religious person, but thank you for sharing. And, if someone wanted to pray for me in any religious tradition, I would be honored.

  4. Beautifully written, Beth! I started to cry at the end there. I spent most of my life as a non Christian ( which was pretty obvious to anyone who knew me as a teenager). Fortunately, God didn't give up on me and in my late twenties I was born again and able to put on a new self with His love and Grace. I don't know how I lived so long in darkness but now that His light and love is on me it is my most treasured. Thank you for writing this and giving such glory to God! I sometimes wonder how much better an athlete I could have been with God's strength driving me instead of my own.

  5. Great post Beth - got a little teary eyed at the end.

  6. Wonderful post. Your words speak truth and inspiration.

  7. Beth you did this post justice only Beth Shutt could do. And I wholeheartedly give you permission to pray for me.

  8. Such a beautiful post and reminder to do something so simple!

  9. This is a great post, Beth! Thank you.

  10. Yes, while I am not a religious person, I think it is GREAT when people are passionate about what they believe in - no matter what it is! So, great post...I enjoyed it!

  11. Lovely, heart-felt, honest words! Thank You!

    Prayer has always been my rock. "Mini conversations" are the norm for me. Yet, I get that others have their own relationship or view of the word "prayer."

    It took my hub a while to "adjust" to that part of me, and yet, during a particularly emotional pregger moment, he said to me, "I'm just asking that God is with you right now."

    My soul and cells filled with emotion, and what more could I do than say "thank you" to God for guiding my husband in all ways.

    A fun aside .. I've learned that with our 13 year old, it works very well to use, "I/we need to pray on this before deciding..." instead of "no," "yes," "maybe," *other answer.*

    The teen has been raised religiously (hub's son first marriage), and yet responds well to the word and the concept. It takes it from "my" hands to God's hands, and from ego to God.

    Have I used it as a buffer? Sure, but I also know my heart's intent, and sometimes we just don't have an answer or know what's best in a moment. Some decisions/ideas take time..and not ours.

    Sorry if this got a bit self-belief-based at the end.

  12. Great post.. he definitely gets me thru all of this craziness. I don't know what i would do without prayer... hope all is well and i get to see you next year :)