Prayer, I find a humorous thing. There are so many different kinds of prayer. There’s the young child to old adult who doesn’t know what else to say. . .
God, thank you for this food.
. . type of prayer, which is usually the product of being pushed into saying something at the dinner table and that’s all that comes out.
Speaking of obligatory prayer, how about when someone calls on you to pray for a person in the prayer circle and you’re totally caught off guard.
Um oh sure. Uh, Lord. I pray for, uhhhhh *awkward chuckle until someone in the circle hisses her name* Mary? Marideth! Sorry… Marideth. She’s uh. . needs a job. No? Oh uh sorry. My bad ha. I mean she has an unspoken request…
Unspoken requests really irritated me, especially when I was little. Unspoken? I wanted to hop up and point out, “if you’re speaking about it now, it isn’t unspoken anymore!”
And then I found out unspoken meant they just didn’t want to tell people what it was. Well that’s just selfish. I mean, how rude! Everyone else is bearing their souls, but not that one person. Now all of us had to go home and let our minds wander until we settled on something that could be the problem because it made the most logical sense in our minds.
And I can’t help it. My mind starts at “worst sinful” possibility, then goes to “bad,” “okay,” and then “logical.”
Basically, if that person would’ve been honest up front, they would’ve saved us all that time.
There are the most beautiful prayers. Those that ask God for forgiveness and ask Him to be in their hearts and lives forever.
Those selfless cries for others that God never ignores.
There are the prayers that may not seem like much but mean everything in the moment. Give me courage. Help me stay strong. Don’t let me trip on stage.
Prayers that look like a Christmas list, but start with “please.” Can I please get that new sofa for the living room? Could You please make my paycheck stretch so I have enough money to buy such and such?
Prayers of thanks. The kids do these ones best. They start, dear Jesus, thank You for my mom, and dad, and sister, and brother, and my puppy, and play station, and… Seven minutes later, an adult is gently helping them wrap it up, and they still haven’t blessed the food. These prayers, though, will keep you the most happy.
There are the relational prayers from people just having a casual chat with God. God already knows every horrible thing about you, so you don’t have anything to hide. Those are my favorite.
Then there are the prayers from the “non-religious” people. Sadly they have to be hanging by their fingertips off a cliff, or being dragged into a cave by some wild animal before the prayers fly from their mouths.
A lot of Christians struggle with prayer because they want to pray “right before bed,” and anything that happens “right before bed” happens in bed. So they fall asleep mid-prayer, then wake up in a complex because they feel horrible. Rule of thumb, don’t pray lying down, people! The only person you’re fooling is yourself.
Prayer is a powerful thing, though. Whether you’re “religious” or not.
I listed the types of prayers I could think of: habitual, obligational, unspoken, repenting, selfless, desperate, thankful, relational, afraid… They’re all powerful, and they’re all pretty great. They’re therapeutic too. Whatever you are religion-wise, you should try it. You’ve got nothing to lose.
Just please. If you’re in a prayer circle with me, please don’t say it’s “unspoken.” . . . I have issues.
Pray for me.