Praying and Playing

I’ll keep this short. I have a few different but similar thoughts.


Dallas Willard was once asked to describe Jesus in one word. He sat back and thought for moment. And then he said: relaxed.  

There are many other words that come to my mind: loving, kind, caring, visionary, friend, revolutionary, focused, maybe even busy.

But to think that Jesus, the physical embodiment of the Creator God, is relaxed…well, that’s a whole other thing.

Part of the reason that Willard’s response has stuck with me is because, as I reflect on my own life, I’m not sure how relaxed I really am.

I mean, of course, I spend my fair share of time watching Netflix and reading books and going for walks and drinking coffee and listening to music…but am I relaxed? I’m not sure.

I’d like to be.


Eugene Peterson wrote that true rest is about “praying and playing”. I love that.

It shakes up my understanding of things.

When I picture Jesus in the Bible, particularly as a young child, I don’t imagine much playing.

I imagine a kind of robot-child who has N.T. Wright books stacked next to his crib.

I picture Jesus as a kind of loner, wandering streets by himself, looking for people to convert.

I see Jesus as the kind of person who always thinks the music is too loud and the lights too bright and the mud too dirty.

What a tragic image.

But to see Jesus as relaxed. To imagine Jesus praying and playing. Well, that’s just lovely.


Christmas can be a busy season, if we let it.

Right now seems like a good time to rest. Right now seems like a good time to practice praying and playing.

Clare and I are heading off to Connemara for Christmas with our families this year. So expect a lot of praying and playing – but mostly playing.

Theme photo by Evelin Horvath on Unsplash

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