Simple Prayer

The song, written by a friend years ago, its tune rolling around in my head. The words mixed up, remembering some and drawing a blank on others, much like mama’s word salad. I remember singing it, the small ensemble of voices at church. It’s title self-descriptive: Simple Prayer.

“This is a simple prayer, from the depths of my heart, Lord teach me to be kind….(humming) teach me to honest about the things I try to hide….and teach me to….??? and let your spirit be my guide…..(more humming)…Lord, teach me to be true.”

(The humming where I can’t recall the words. Surely I’ve missed the best parts. Like many of my prayers, perhaps.)

It was a simple request for a simple prayer that has settled in my heart lately. Going into our prayer time last week Henry asked the men if any had a prayer request. A new man, young, said, “Pray for my wife and child.” That’s all. A few words. Simple. It struck my heart. Does he believe? I don’t know. Maybe he doesn’t know yet. But he knows prayer can’t hurt. He’s in a Salvation Army. Not a sign of the success he’s achieved. He needs. He needs God to hear his prayer for his wife and child. His plea has echoed in my mind. A simple prayer from his heart.

I grew up hearing people pray using different voices and words not ordinarily used. It was like they suddenly started talking like the King James bible: “We come before Thee…..In Thy precious Name…” It was too much for this tongue-tied little girl but I understood. This was what some did. Especially the older ones 🙂

We’ve talked about how to pray. With the men. They feel it’s too difficult to know the right words. But some of the most beautiful prayers I’ve heard are the simplest. It’s the heart. When the heart cries to God, in need or in praise, the words transcend. His word tells us the very Spirit of God speaks on our behalf. The simple words, the lack of words, our tears and sobs are carried by His Spirit to the heart of God. I don’t know how. I just believe.

I believe in the simple prayers. I believe in God.

25 Comments

  1. Heidi said:

    Amen! I will never get how it all works and I’m so happy that I don’t have to know why it does, either. The older I get the less I need to know or to understand. He’s there. He loves. That’s all I need.

    Beautiful pictures. Thanks for the topic.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Debby said:

      Same here, Heidi. The older I get the less I need to know. That does seem to be a good part of this aging thing.

      March 26, 2012
      Reply
  2. Heidi said:

    Amen! I will never get how it all works and I’m so happy that I don’t have to know why it does, either. The older I get the less I need to know or to understand. He’s there. He loves. That’s all I need.

    Beautiful pictures. Thanks for the topic.

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
  3. Once again you words have sent encouragement my way. I don’t always know how to pray with great words. Awesome reminder that God knows my heart and hears anyway. Thanks!

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Debby said:

      Thank you, John. Most often I’m reminding myself too! Thanks for your encouraging words.

      March 26, 2012
      Reply
  4. Once again you words have sent encouragement my way. I don’t always know how to pray with great words. Awesome reminder that God knows my heart and hears anyway. Thanks!

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Debby said:

      Thank you, John. Most often I’m reminding myself too! Thanks for your encouraging words.

      March 26, 2012
      Reply
  5. Debbie said:

    I used to go to a church where men and women were split up for prayer on Wednesday nights, which is a different story.
    Some of the prayers were the regular: Please help, heal, encourage someone else… Very few were personal – we knew better.
    Many of the prayers were mini-sermons – rather pointedly directed at something someone had said earlier in group that the pray-er didn’t agree with. That was awkward.
    Simple prayers. Yes, Debby. I love simple prayers, too.
    Debbie

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Debby said:

      Debbie, the hardest thing for us is to get the men to understand they can, and should, pray for themselves. So many dimensions here but most are willing.
      I understand your experiences though I’ve never been where the men and women were separated for prayer. Yes, a different story. My brother had an assistant who prayed a full length sermon – 18 min. Yes, Paul timed him. There’s a story there too 😉
      Thanks for adding your experiences to the discussion. So very interesting when we share.

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  6. Debbie said:

    I used to go to a church where men and women were split up for prayer on Wednesday nights, which is a different story.
    Some of the prayers were the regular: Please help, heal, encourage someone else… Very few were personal – we knew better.
    Many of the prayers were mini-sermons – rather pointedly directed at something someone had said earlier in group that the pray-er didn’t agree with. That was awkward.
    Simple prayers. Yes, Debby. I love simple prayers, too.
    Debbie

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Debby said:

      Debbie, the hardest thing for us is to get the men to understand they can, and should, pray for themselves. So many dimensions here but most are willing.
      I understand your experiences though I’ve never been where the men and women were separated for prayer. Yes, a different story. My brother had an assistant who prayed a full length sermon – 18 min. Yes, Paul timed him. There’s a story there too 😉
      Thanks for adding your experiences to the discussion. So very interesting when we share.

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  7. I love the black and white photos and the lovely way you hum the missing words to a heartfelt song.

    I love the new science studies that are being done on the effect of prayer of the ill; using control studies of people who believe and who do not believe. The results are astounding. People heal faster when they are prayed for even if they do not know they have been prayed for. Cool.

    I also was caught by the prayer of a man for his wife and child. I have been assuming that men in the army were homeless or without families.

    Thank you for the reminder of the beauty and simplicity of prayer!

    XO Jen

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Debby said:

      Jen, I’ve read that too. So very interesting, isn’t it? And encouraging and comforting.

      Most of the men in our program have families. Some estranged because of their addiction. The stories of reunion are the best. One man’s mom came to visit him a couple of weeks ago. First time he’s seen her in 7 years!

      Simple words have great power when offered to the One who is all powerful.

      love to you,

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  8. I love the black and white photos and the lovely way you hum the missing words to a heartfelt song.

    I love the new science studies that are being done on the effect of prayer of the ill; using control studies of people who believe and who do not believe. The results are astounding. People heal faster when they are prayed for even if they do not know they have been prayed for. Cool.

    I also was caught by the prayer of a man for his wife and child. I have been assuming that men in the army were homeless or without families.

    Thank you for the reminder of the beauty and simplicity of prayer!

    XO Jen

    March 26, 2012
    Reply
    • Debby said:

      Jen, I’ve read that too. So very interesting, isn’t it? And encouraging and comforting.

      Most of the men in our program have families. Some estranged because of their addiction. The stories of reunion are the best. One man’s mom came to visit him a couple of weeks ago. First time he’s seen her in 7 years!

      Simple words have great power when offered to the One who is all powerful.

      love to you,

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  9. iamnotshe said:

    May i put in my two cents for dogs along with prayers ;-).

    I’m working on simple Debby. I feel like i know less and less all the time. I used to clobber myself with WHY WHY WHY, and i am now TIRED TIRED TIRED … and i’m not sure i care why (in certain circumstances).

    Praying for oneself is hard as an addict. It always made me feel either SELFISH, like who the eff are you? or like a slap in the face: You suck, so you better pray for yourself.

    I just read Heidi’s post on simplifying the 4th step. I ALWAYS felt beaten up by the 4th step. I truly did hate myself, and i think the idea of softening prayers, self examination, self-battering, is a good place to start “letting” go of “WHY” i need to pray, or “WHY” i should do a 4th step, or why Harper and Mom died. And why are they leaving me to cry with holes in my chest.

    It was there time to go. So i continue to say simple prayers … talking to the God i understand … it may be a “UNIVERSAL” God … a God of all religions and love … i’m not sure what, or who, and maybe that doesn’t matter either … as long as i’m having conversations and asking a power greater than myself for help. I need help, just like all humans. Love to you Debby, m

    March 27, 2012
    Reply
    • Debby said:

      Melis, I haven’t gotten to Heidi’s blog today but will. Hers is a must-read, isn’t it? I sort of figured the reason they don’t want to pray for themselves is what you said. I think we often feel unworthy. The good news is, that’s what grace is about. Grace says even if we’re screw-up’s God loves us anyway. We don’t have to change our clothes, our speech, our thoughts for him to love us. He is love and love does what love will do – LOVE. Do I understand that? Not at all. But I am SO very thankful for it.

      I do believe there is one true God and many imitations. Some man-made. Some of us have made our addiction our god. But the true God, the one who created the world, loved us enough to give us free will, to give us his son to pay for our wrongs, This God, tells us he will never leave us. I just believe it.

      Sweetie, you’re going to feel those holes in your heart a long time. It hurts to lose who we love. I think we’re surprised by how much it hurts. You keep crying, and writing and painting and loving. God is there Melis. With you during all of it. You don’t have to understand it. He’ll still be there. xoxo

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  10. iamnotshe said:

    May i put in my two cents for dogs along with prayers ;-).

    I’m working on simple Debby. I feel like i know less and less all the time. I used to clobber myself with WHY WHY WHY, and i am now TIRED TIRED TIRED … and i’m not sure i care why (in certain circumstances).

    Praying for oneself is hard as an addict. It always made me feel either SELFISH, like who the eff are you? or like a slap in the face: You suck, so you better pray for yourself.

    I just read Heidi’s post on simplifying the 4th step. I ALWAYS felt beaten up by the 4th step. I truly did hate myself, and i think the idea of softening prayers, self examination, self-battering, is a good place to start “letting” go of “WHY” i need to pray, or “WHY” i should do a 4th step, or why Harper and Mom died. And why are they leaving me to cry with holes in my chest.

    It was there time to go. So i continue to say simple prayers … talking to the God i understand … it may be a “UNIVERSAL” God … a God of all religions and love … i’m not sure what, or who, and maybe that doesn’t matter either … as long as i’m having conversations and asking a power greater than myself for help. I need help, just like all humans. Love to you Debby, m

    March 27, 2012
    Reply
    • Debby said:

      Melis, I haven’t gotten to Heidi’s blog today but will. Hers is a must-read, isn’t it? I sort of figured the reason they don’t want to pray for themselves is what you said. I think we often feel unworthy. The good news is, that’s what grace is about. Grace says even if we’re screw-up’s God loves us anyway. We don’t have to change our clothes, our speech, our thoughts for him to love us. He is love and love does what love will do – LOVE. Do I understand that? Not at all. But I am SO very thankful for it.

      I do believe there is one true God and many imitations. Some man-made. Some of us have made our addiction our god. But the true God, the one who created the world, loved us enough to give us free will, to give us his son to pay for our wrongs, This God, tells us he will never leave us. I just believe it.

      Sweetie, you’re going to feel those holes in your heart a long time. It hurts to lose who we love. I think we’re surprised by how much it hurts. You keep crying, and writing and painting and loving. God is there Melis. With you during all of it. You don’t have to understand it. He’ll still be there. xoxo

      March 27, 2012
      Reply
  11. iamnotshe said:

    Jeez, it was THEIR time to go … i’m having a weepy day… trying to concentrate. 🙂

    March 27, 2012
    Reply
  12. iamnotshe said:

    Jeez, it was THEIR time to go … i’m having a weepy day… trying to concentrate. 🙂

    March 27, 2012
    Reply
  13. judikruis said:

    He knows the rest of the prayers…sometimes our simplicity is the best. Thank you for being such a vessel for His goodness and grace.

    March 31, 2012
    Reply
    • Debby said:

      I find such peace in knowing he knows the prayers I can’t complete, where I’ve lost the words. Especially the prayers of tears and joy. So often we have made prayer formulaic and it’s anything but. I’m learning that, bit by bit, thanks to others like you.

      March 31, 2012
      Reply
  14. judikruis said:

    He knows the rest of the prayers…sometimes our simplicity is the best. Thank you for being such a vessel for His goodness and grace.

    March 31, 2012
    Reply
    • Debby said:

      I find such peace in knowing he knows the prayers I can’t complete, where I’ve lost the words. Especially the prayers of tears and joy. So often we have made prayer formulaic and it’s anything but. I’m learning that, bit by bit, thanks to others like you.

      March 31, 2012
      Reply

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