Years ago, a friend of mine was challenged, actually terrified, that they may be called upon to pray. I remember saying, “Just talk to God…it’s just a conversation”. I also remember the first time I heard him pray. It was beautiful and it was sincere.
Praise God, he does not discern eloquence and proper use of words when we pray! I believe it’s quite the opposite, in fact, it’s simply the “come as you are” philosophy that is the basis or all of the mercies and graces of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
I love the timeliness and honesty of the prayers from the book of Psalms. The prayers of David cover all the bases, from beautiful adoration to questioning and pleading for answers. In Psalm 34, David begins with a reminder to pray at all times and continues by telling us about the freedom from fear, We are reminded of the joy that comes from trusting God as well as the assurance of every good thing!
Still, we are prone as humans to make prayer a chore, a task, something we feel demands perfection.
We had a family vacation last week with many things planned and lots of people to please. Sometimes vacation can be a getaway that ends up causing us to need a return to routine just to rest. But, I chose a quiet place, it was different and beautiful…a setting surrounded by old oaks dripping with moss and an ocean inlet just steps away from the house. Yet, I still felt disconnected because I wasn’t able to do my set devotion time…the house was noisy.
One evening I found quiet time and sat staring out at the water. Not a sound but the tide and the wind causing the trees to sway. I closed my eyes and began a prayer that had a natural flow from my thoughts about each of my family members, their current places in life and my hopes for them. It was a beautiful time of grace and solitude. It was not my “set” devotion time nor was it a prayer before sleeping. It was a peaceful and reverent acknowledgement of God’s presence. It was an opportunity to turn my thoughts towards God and to know he listens.
Isn’t that what prayer is, simply the acknowledgement of his almighty sovereignty in a way that honors Him? I sat for a while eyes closed, listening, resting, trusting, waiting; and then opened my eyes to my surroundings and felt renewed, connected, and grateful.
A week later, I am still reflecting on the prayer on the porch. As I share this prayerful encounter with you as readers, I am still deeply moved by the presence of the Lord as the listener of my quiet unplanned ramblings. My sharing of my needs, my gratitude, my recalling of times he rescued me, and my requests for continued grace and mercy. Yes, all of that was included in that prayer…because all of that was in my heart.
This is His desire. Our hearts opened wide and emptied welcoming Jesus into the day to day of our lives. To me, this is prayer, simply stated.
Come and listen, all of you who fear God, and I will tell you what He did for me. For I cried out to Him for help, praising Him as I spoke. If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, my Lord would not have listened. But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer. Psalm 66:16-19