Prayer. The simple task of talking to God. Yet of all the disciplines out there, prayer seems to be the hardest one for people to develop. So I want to take a few minutes to talk about prayer and how to go about being more comfortable with prayer. First let’s talk about how a prayer life develops. It starts with learning simply prayers. I remember many hours teaching my sons how to say the good night prayer. “Now I lay me down to sleep….” It took a few weeks but eventually they picked it up and were saying without much help from me. I still remember watching my then two year old son teach this prayer to his stuffed Winnie the Pooh.
The next prayer we learn is meal time prayers with ” Come, Lord, Jesus be our guest.” The prayer serves as the first real focus prayer we are praying to God to thank him for the many blessings that he has given us in particular the food we are about to eat. These two prayers are common among new believers. Why? Because they are easy to learn and they express our feelings. Eventually we need to learn to go beyond rote prayers to speaking our mind in prayer. This takes a lot of discipline in the life of a Christian. Right? Wrong. Truth be told it does take time. But it shouldn’t. After all prayer is not something that takes higher degrees of learning. Prayer at its basic elements is talking to God. So anytime we fold our hands or just simply lift our hearts to God to chat for awhile is in fact prayer. We become more comfortable by praying. Just by doing it. We learn that the words don’t matter. For the Holy Spirit speaks in ways that we cannot explain. (Romans 8:26-27) Don’t get me wrong prayer can be rote and there is nothing wrong with memorized prayers. They tie us to the church universal and bind us in unity. The greatest prayer of all is the rote prayer known as the Lord’s prayer. Spend a few minutes looking at this prayer. Really study it and your faith will grow. There is nothing wrong with repeating what has always been said. Still prayer should not stop there. We need to grow in knowledge and faithfulness. We should be growing in prayer so that as things happen in our lives, we are comfortable with lifting them to God in a ongoing conversation. Whether it is a concern for a family member, or ourselves, or a prayer of thanks for God’s many blessings.
My personal life of faith began with prayer and the first thing that I have done in many cases was pray. My wife and I prayed right after I proposed to her and right after the birth of each of our children. Both of our boys were prayed over before the first hour of their lives was up. A practice that continues to this day in my personal prayers is to pray for them and their mother. I want to encourage everyone to lift up their concerns to God in prayer and not to worry about what to say. Let the words flow from you. In fact it is even OK to start by saying “Lord I am not sure how to say this…” God understands our place. He understands our hearts and knows what we need before we even pray it. Still it is a good practice to talk with God. He even tells us to do this. “Come, let us reason together. (Isaiah 1:18a). This is God saying let’s talk about things and work them out together.
So take a few minutes to pray today. Remember that prayer is just talking to God and letting him know how you feel. Have a conversation of praying to God and listening to him in the Word. It is my prayer that everyone who reads this will grow in the knowledge of God and will grow in prayer.
In Jesus name, AMEN