Prayer can be intimidating or at the very least awkward. And praying out loud is a huge fear for many folks. I want to say, “I get it,” but honestly I like to pray, probably because I like to talk. And the out loud part isn’t scary for me because I love public speaking. I say this because while it doesn’t make me expert on prayer, it is evidence that I am at least well practiced.
My family jokes about not letting me pray when dinner is hot and on the table…I get going and the food gets cold. I am the gal who has to sit on her hands to keep from being the first volunteer to pray at a meeting, event, service or gathering.
I like to pray. Maybe because when I was younger, the though that God was always there listening brought comfort as well as invitation to just talk to Him. For someone who has a lot to say that is like hitting the lottery!
While growing up, I was often told, “you talk too much.” Shamed is a better word. Talking too much, having too much to say, too many thoughts, ideas, excitements to share was NOT acceptable.
I remember in second grade, my teacher put tape over my mouth and sent me out into the hall. Each parent teacher conference yielded good grades, and a reminder from my parents that my teacher said I talked too much in class. And could I please stop.
A repeating melody in the score of my life. I battle those shaming words today.
So imagine the thrill of finding out God wants us to talk with Him, anytime, all the time! “Pray without ceasing,” (1 Thess 5:17) became one of my favorite verses. I loved this invitation, but also wondered what that would actually look like. Of course, I was game to try!
I love the way Tevye, the main character in the movie Fiddler on the Roof , just talks to God about his day, thoughts, ideas, concerns, and questions.
An ongoing dialogue.
Prayer is simply having a conversation with the Best Friend you could ever have.
Yes, Prayer is also listening, pauses, quiet moments -like any good conversation. But most folks I talk with get stuck on the “I don’t know what to say, or how to pray.”
If you ever read the Psalms, you will find that David says all kinds of stuff to God! Uncensored and raw, David tells it like it is. And God calls the book of Psalms – a book of worship!
So prayer isn’t fancy words, correct and cleaned up feelings, pretense or posturing. Prayer is simply talking to God as our best friend, doting parent, lover of our soul.
Sometimes, I picture sitting on a beach with God -usually with an image of Jesus in my head- rough and tumbled, ethnic, with gentle eyes- but sometimes God looks more like the image portrayed in The Shack. (An incredible book that helped me understand an incomprehensible God a bit more.)
- What if you began to talk to God like your best friend, without fancy words, or fear of being judged for what you might say?
- What if you shared your heart, feelings, thoughts with God, much like a child does after a tough day at school?
- What if you viewed prayer as a conversation with the One who is waiting for you to express yourself?
Would that change how you viewed prayer?
You don’t have to pray in public.
You don’t even have to pray out loud -though I think it helps sometimes to talk aloud to God. You can whisper or even just think your thoughts – have the conversation in your mind.
I don’t often kneel; I don’t always bow my head…sometimes, I walk and talk, other times, I sit or write in my journal. And throughout the day, I throw some “arrow prayers” quick thoughts, requests or thank you up toward the sky.
There isn’t one right way to pray.
The deal is, just try it! God is waiting and wants to hear whatever it is you have to say.
Over time it does get easier. Try it… and see!
What are your thoughts about prayer? Is it easy, comfortable or awkward? What would you like to be different about your prayer life?
Comment below and let’s chat!