How do you pray? Often my prayers slip into comfortable routines, predictable patterns, yet prayer is all around us – like our breath. So many different ways to talk with God are waiting to explore. The following is a part of a three-week series on prayer and its many forms. Come explore with me ways to address God when words are inadequate and let’s get to know God better by spending time with Him.
We make prayer too complicated and difficult at times. God wants us as we are – coming to Him in open honesty, with our defenses down and our ego set aside.
I like what C. S. Lewis wrote, “The prayer preceding all prayers is ‘May it be the real I who speak. May it be the real Thou that I speak to.’”
Simple prayer is coming to God just as we are, with all our faults, problems, and imperfections. We tell God how frustrated we are, angry or discouraged. Richard Foster says, “Sometimes this prayer is called the Prayer of Beginning Again.”
We are not alone with praying this way. The Bible is full of examples of people calling out to God with raw emotions: Moses, David, Ruth, Peter, and John for example. Simple prayer is ordinary people bringing ordinary problems to an extraordinary and compassionate God.
God meets us where we are and begins a new work within us. C. S. Lewis also counsels us to “lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us.”
We allow our helplessness, our inadequacies, and our past failures to pray to block our relationship with God. He welcomes us all the time like the Father running to love the prodigal son. Ole Hallesby wrote, “Whether it takes the form of words or not, does not mean anything to God, only ourselves. Only he who is helpless can truly pray.”
“To prayer is to walk in the full light of God and to say simply, without holding back, ‘I am human and you are God.’” Henri Nouwen.
Radical thought: learn to pray by praying. God can handle it!