How to pray – lessons for anyone who struggles to find the right words

10:59 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments


This last week I was asked to write a series of prayers.

I answered quickly, “Sure. I’ll do that.” 

Then I sat down to write them and I froze. 
I didn’t know what to write. 
I didn’t know how to pray. 

My words seemed inadequate. Not pretty enough. Not spiritual enough. 

So I did what any blocked writer does, I googled: “How to pray” and “Formula’s for prayer.”

But I didn’t find them helpful. 

The first prayer on the list was a prayer for healing. 

I kept looking at the title and thinking. I can’t write that. What happens if someone prays it doesn’t get healed? (As if the burden of healing rests on me and not a big God.)

Then I started wondering, ‘Who was I anyway to think that I could write prayers for other people to say?’

My idea of what a perfect prayer is, has made me mute. 

My next step was to tell myself to calm down, to remind myself that prayer isn’t a magic wand.

After all, God isn’t a formula manipulated by the words we pray. (tweet this)

I took a deep breath and reminded myself that prayer is simply a conversation with a friend.

I do that sometimes, I turn prayer into something difficult, something mystical but I don’t think God ever intended it to be. 

In fact when asked how to pray Jesus replied in Matthew 6:9-13 (MSG) with a few short sentences even a child can pray: 
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. 

Quotes about prayerThat’s it.

That’s the perfect prayer Jesus came up with. 
Short. 
Simple. 

I wonder if I stood in the audience that day if I would even have heard Jesus fumble for a word too, pause, while he thought about what to say next. 

In my mind the Lord’s prayer has become so polished, so perfected that my own mumbling prayers even when short and simple seem inadequate. 

And I found my groove again. I found the words to pray short, simple and like I'm speaking to my father who loves me: “Abba, I belong to you.

After all, prayer was never supposed to be a platform to reveal our grasp of language or make others feel more or less spiritual. 

Prayer is meant to be a way to grow closer to the God who made us. (tweet this)

Ponder: Has your idea of what a perfect prayer is kept you from speaking to your Father in heaven? 

Prayer: 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. 


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