As we come to the end of September with our missional focus this month on prayer, I have a confession to make – I still don’t really know exactly what prayer is.
Is it a time to ask God for stuff? Is it something to help connect me with the Creator? Is it something I’m supposed to do? If so, how often do I need to do it?
And what does prayer look like? Do I need to kneel down and close my eyes in order for my prayer to count? Or can I just be driving or walking on my way somewhere? How long do prayers need to last? Do they happen in solitude or in groups? Are they written or spontaneous? Are they supposed to be full of conviction or can they be infused with doubts and questions?
Am I supposed to pray every night? Morning? Over every meal? Am I a failure at prayer if I don’t do it exactly the way I was taught by my parents or clergy?
Is prayer a one-way dialogue from me to God? Or is it a time for me to be able to hear God’s voice?
I guess for me this last question helps put into perspective what prayer really is.
It’s a conversation.
It is a way to form relationship with The Divine.
There’s no right or wrong way to pray.
Sometimes we can be yelling at God at the top of our lungs in anger. Sometimes it is done in silence. Sometimes we have no idea what to pray and so we say nothing at all. All of these are ‘right’ ways to pray.
And for me at least, relationship building prayer on many occasions does in fact change things.
Sometimes it is me that changes. Other times I can see that my prayer actually changes something in the world around me for the better.
Most importantly, prayer strengthens my faith in a God who can and does change things. It deepens my relationship with the Creator of the Universe.
At the end of the day, despite all of its mysteries, prayer just plain feels right.
Let’s keep acknowledging God’s power and presence with us through prayer as we continue to strive to be The Hand of God in the Heart of the City.
“MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”