God is good, God is great, let us thank him for our food. Amen
That’s the prayer we said as children, every time we sat at the table for a meal. It was rote, the words coming out automatically, our duty performed.
When Charlie prayed in church he used the old words. He said Thou and Thee but we knew it was his way, the way he’d learned and we knew they were words from his heart.
I stumble and bumble with prayers, especially the ones in my head. I’ve practiced different methods and formulas of personal prayers. Generally, I feel lost, wondering how to pray for things God knows more about than I do. Wondering why the bible says to pray without ceasing when my prayers seem to fall heavy on the hard floor.
Anne Lamott wrote a book titled, Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers. That seems a concise summation of our prayers.
She says, “So prayer is our sometimes real selves trying to communicate with the Real, with Truth, with the Light. It is us reaching out to be heard, hoping to be found by a light and warmth in the world, instead of darkness and cold.”
Sometimes I need to hear a friend talk. I just want to listen. Maybe that’s why God wants to hear our prayers. He’s not expecting profound thoughts or expensive words. He knows our hearts, our minds, our needs and desires. He knows everything we will say, yet, he wants to hear the words. The stumbling words that aren’t enough. The repetition of request for health and direction. The confession of the same things over and over.
We know it as the Lord’s Prayer. Eugene Peterson says it this way in the Message:
“The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this: Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what’s best— as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You’re in charge! You can do anything you want! You’re ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes.” Matthew 6:7-13 the Message
And then I need to listen.
linking up with Holly Gerth and other bloggers offering encouragement through their words.