When I first began to assimilate prayer into my daily life I went to the nearest bookstore to purchase a book on ‘how to pray’. I wanted to know exactly how to pray and how to pray correctly! The bookshelves were filled with books written by people sharing their experiences and knowledge on ‘best pray practices! There were so many different ideas, styles and methods I wondered…. could praying be so complicated how will I ever know which one is best?
Years have passed since my experience in the bookstore and I have learned to exercise some of the styles and methods of prayer that has helped to enhance my success at praying. In addition, I have come to realize that prayer is not a complex set of rules that must be followed precisely. Rather, it is a simple conversation with my God whom I have come to know and love through our time together.
Prayer is not a means to an end, but it is an encounter between two people who love one another. Think for a moment how this definition of prayer might change the way you pray? We approach prayer as we are not as we hope to be. We need to spend time with someone in order for the relationship to grow. So too, as we take time out of our busy days for pray we will get to know the God who desires nothing more than to be with us!
Lord, teach us to pray! We begin prayer by acknowledging that God is God and we are not. It is His kingdom that we serve and not the world’s and it is His will that must be done and not ours. He will supply all our needs and will forgive us our sins as we forgive others who have offended us. When we are weak He will make us strong and He will strengthen us through the power of His Holy Spirit.
In the end, I have discovered there are no right or wrong ways to pray. Thomas Keating reminds us, “The only way you can fail at prayer is not to show up”! Therefore, ask the Holy Spirit to increase in you a desire to pray and make an effort each day to show up and spend some time with God to listen, respond and grow in your love for HIM!
Lord, teach us to pray!