Ok, so when I was growing up I never understood why everybody in the church would go silent and listen to the minister pray. I used prayer as a way of speaking to my besto Jesus (bff). I had grown up being taught that Jesus is my best friend, which He is.
So, I just didn’t understand why we all had to stop and listen to this boring old minister guy talk to God.
It’s something that I often ponder during prayers, when my thoughts run away from me, and I think I’ve come up with an explanation.
basic questions about prayer – Why would I want to pray? How do I pray/ What do I have to do to pray? What do I do in church when somebody is praying out?
In my previous posts about prayer I talked a lot about that first question, so I’ll just pop in a link and you can reference back to it.
I didn’t really talk about how to pray, I just skimped on that because well… coming from a Christian background it’s like Christianity 101, but using my brain I realise Christianity is a brand new concept to a large percentage of the 7 billion people on our planet.
So, praying is quite easy. All you need to do to pray is two things; A working brain, and a desire, or want, to get to know God better, or you need to talk to somebody you can trust (see link for more)
So, “Andrew I have a working brain, that’s why I read you blog, and I’m keen to find out more about God, what do I do now?”
This is the really tough bit guys. No jokes, if you have no taste for adventure, do not keep reading.
You simply think, if it helps you concentrate, close your eyes when appropriate (not while driving would probably be a good idea) maybe clasp your hands if fiddling is distracting you, and just think, and focus on what you want to say to God. You don’t need to use a fancy lexicon… I mean a fancy set of words. God knows you! He knows what you mean, it doesn’t matter if your brain suddenly goes haywire and you can’t follow a chain of thought. God literally knows exactly what you want to get across.
You don’t need to rely on pomp and ceremony, or follow some ritual. If you pray with the hope to learn about God, and His plan for you, then you can jolly well expect your prayers to be answered.
Ok; “Andrew, I think I just about followed what you said there. So then, why in church do we sit and listen to somebody else praying for what seems like ages at a time?”
Well, remember how I was talking about Jesus being my BFF (best friend forever)? Well Jesus AKA God, is more than just a pal, He’s also like your Dad, and your Boss and a bazillion different things that I can’t describe, but sometimes it helps people more if they present a prayer out loud, and other people join in (in their heads or out loud sometimes). It’s like saying “We’re all going for the same thing here”. The more formal language is just a way of expressing yourself, it’s the person trying to add gravity and express the effort they put in to the prayer.
Using complicated language also gives the prayer the feeling of being more important, which isn’t the case. God listens to each and every prayer, and He cares about each one the same.
So, next time you’re chilling out in church, or a Christian meeting and some person starts praying, try not to get caught up in the language, but get caught up in what they are trying to communicate to God, and to you indirectly, and let that meaning become your own prayer. Like signing a petition, but re-writing it in your own language. It’s about expressing a joint need/ desire to God, and making that public, so that when they prayer is answered it gives even more glory to God!
Thanks for reading this short (but not very short) collection of thoughts on prayer.