I meant to write this post earlier, but things have been a bit busy around here. 😕🙂 I did have plenty of time to write on Sunday afternoon/evening, but (obviously) I didn’t. Shame on me.
Anyways, enough explanations and excuses!
In parts 1 and 2, I wrote about how prayer is powerful and how our prayers matter because we matter. Today we’re going to look at how we pray.
I don’t want to undermine the amazing-ness of prayer. I mean, we are puny, constantly-failing, often-rebelling, here-today-and-gone-tomorrow humans; and yet (don’t you love those words?) we have the wonderful, breath-taking, mind-blowing privilege and opportunity to talk to the God of the Universe, our Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer.
That’s really what prayer is: talking to God.
You remember the story of Elijah, how he prayed that it wouldn’t rain and it didn’t rain for three-and-a-half years? And then he prayed again, asking for rain, and King Ahab had to race back to his castle as it started pouring?
…his prayers were heard because he prayed, not eloquently, but earnestly. This was not a casual prayer or a comfortable prayer but a radical prayer. …Max Lucado, “Your Prayers Have Power,” Unshakable Hope: Building Our Lives on the Promises of God
Our prayers don’t have to be eloquent. They don’t have to be long and flowery, smoothly flowing from our lips. They don’t have to be packed with big words and quotations/references from Scripture.
Prayer is a conversation. I’m pretty positive you don’t have conversations that go “Ah, wonderful, funny, talented, kind friend, how I love returning yet again to come before you, most amazing person, and present my thoughts…” (If you do, I’m going to look at you strangely and slowly back away while dialing an asylum’s number. 😄)
Since we don’t talk to our friends like that, why do we talk to God like that? Yes, He is God of the Universe, and has so many wonderful characteristics we should praise Him for, and does/gives so many things we should appreciate and thank Him for, and is worthy of our awe and respect. . . But I think God wants to be more than just a supreme, awe-inspiring Being that we worship and request things from. He wants to be our Friend–Best Friend. The One we tell everything and can talk for hours to and spend so much time with and-and are BFFs with, ya know?
I’m trying to talk to God more–not just making requests and thanking Him for things, but, well, simply talking. Telling Him about my day and how I felt when such-and-such happened and what I think about this and stuff like that. Yeah, He knows all that–every nitty-gritty detail–but I believe He listens with a smile and interest.
There’s this book I read, called The Shack. While I don’t agree with and support every idea/belief in there, it did make me think. And there’s one particular thought that has stuck with me: the idea that God can forget.
I can hear you gasping and saying “Absolutely not! God cannot forget!” And I agree. However. Let me explain.
The gist of the book is that this man (Mack) loses his daughter and somewhat his belief in a loving God, then spends time with the individuals of the Trinity in the shack where his daughter was killed. In one of the conversations they have, Mack is telling Them all about his wife and children, then wonders why They’re listening like They don’t know anything about them. He’s then told that They choose to forget some things, so that They can come to know his family through his eyes (or something like that).
Like I said, I don’t agree with everything in the book, and I’m not entirely sure I totally agree with and believe this idea. But it’s an interesting thought; and I’ve kinda morphed it into “God knows everything, but He listens to me talk about things like He doesn’t.” What I mean is, He knows everything that happened to me, how I feel about it, what I’ve been thinking, what my dreams and ideas are–everything! And yet He still listens. Not out of obligation, not feigning interest while stifling yawns and spacing out. He’s totally listening, interested, paying attention, wanting to know, caring. . . in a way, “forgetting” that He already knows about everything I’m saying (and more).
You know what’s even cooler than God listening like He doesn’t already know everything? The fact that we don’t even need to say it out loud. People have said “talk to God like He’s right in the room,” and that’s good advice, and He is in the room. But God knows our thoughts; He sees what’s inside. That means we can talk to Him in our heads and He hears. That means we don’t have to find the words to explain, don’t have to pray in a straight line moving from point A to point B, don’t even have to use coherent sentences–He understands even better than we ourselves do, and He loves us even when our thoughts (and everything else!) are an absolute mess.
We can pray to God like a child talking to Daddy or a friend talking to friend, and our prayers still matter and are powerful.
Isn’t that amazing and encouraging (and perhaps challenging)? 😊