I don’t like to form words when I pray.
Is that cheating? I don’t think so. I believe God knows what I’m thinking.
Putting actual words to my conversations with God had always seemed… less private. OK, that sounds really weird. But I’ve always had conversations with myself in my head. I’ve always played out possible conversations with my friends, teachers, relatives, whoever. Putting actual words to a prayer always seems to summon one of these other people in my head to listen in and judge. Forming words makes me feel like I’m lumping God in with all those others. But they aren’t real… He is. When I just commune with God, just close my eyes and just emote, that feels right. That feels personal, just between me and God.
So what do we pray for? Do we treat prayer like a letter to Santa? “Dear God, please help me pass this test, get that job…” even praying for God to heal a loved one who is suffering seems selfish. If all people had to do to prevent pain and loss was to fold their hands, say please, and ask God to intervene, no one would ever die.
How about praying to praise and thank God? I’m all for that. I’m sure He likes that, too. It makes Him happy. But should prayer be limited to praise?
A lot of people pray for God to “be with” someone in need. We pray that our loved ones will “feel His presence.” This is nice, too. But isn’t He always with us? I think He is. But I know I don’t always feel that way.
Most churches have a method for people to bring up prayer requests. Some do it on Sunday mornings, in the middle of the service. Some have prayer teams who promise to take care of the list. It’s an important aspect of a Christian’s life… praying for each other.
Well, gee, what did Jesus say about praying? This is where we get what we call The Lord’s Prayer:
9 Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
So, to paraphrase:
You’re so holy!
I support the idea that Earth should be more like You intend it to be.
Please continue to give me what I need in life, and forgive me for all the mistakes I make. I promise I’ll forgive others too.
Please don’t put temptation in my way! I’m really not that strong, and I don’t think I can handle it. Please save me from all the icky stuff that happens in life.
Glory to You! You really rock.