in I Am Jonah, Prayer

Forgetting How To Pray

I think a lot. A lot about how I live is internal. I’m neither extroverted nor introverted. I’m one of those guys who are half and half. Because I think a lot, a lot of what happens to me is internal.

Sometimes I over think things. I’ve always been this way, as long as my memory serves me. I don’t fight it. I’ve learned how to make that work for me.

(Writing is one of the ways I’ve explored to help me process things.)

forgetting how to pray

This morning, as I took as walk along the coast I realised how much I had redirected some of my ‘prayer energy’ or focus to thinking. I had started thinking about the things I wanted to and should’ve been praying about.

Some people say God hears their thoughts and He should just take their thoughts as prayer. That is is them, not me!

Articulation

I don’t have a comprehensive, theological definition for what prayer is. Neither will I be prescriptive about how you should pray. However, for me, prayer must be articulated. It must be expressed.

Jesus knew that the Father knows us through and through. Every thought, anxiety, aspiration, reservation and passion. Everything. yet, Jesus invites us to ask (Luke 11:2-3; Matthew 7:7  cf. Philippians 4:6).

Prayer is more than thought; it is articulating [Click to Tweet]

I haven’t done a specific study, but as I think about it, there is nowhere in Scripture where prayer is just thought. Then again, it might just be my ‘bias’ toward prayer being articulated.

If most people are honest when they think “prayer”, they think “articulation” and “expression”. Never mind what people think right…

How

Because I grew up in a Christian home prayer was a norm. When I decided I was going to be a Christ follower I did wonder where  my parents and others sourced their prayers. There were times I got stuck on the ‘how’.

How do I come up with things to pray? How can I string words and craft sentences in such a way that God understands and I don’t make a fool of myself?

This morning I seemed to find myself at the same place I was as a little boy. Remember, my ‘philosophy’ on prayer being articulated…

Thus I have to articulate my prayer, so that I know that I am praying. Also, I do believe that God knows what we need. He knows our thoughts but prayer is one of the ways we express our faith in Him. Faith in His love for us and willingness to act for and on our behalf.

Somehow I asked myself, “how should I pray?” I pray often. But here I was, asking myself how I should pray. Then I realised something else. What I was asking myself was how was I to articulate or express what I was thinking to God.

Perfect articulation is not the object of prayer; connecting with God is [Click to Tweet]

How could I be so stupid to believe that i had to wax eloquent when it came to prayer? For this moment, at least, how did I start believe that God only hears the eloquent?

After slaying these thoughts I whipped a messy and heartfelt prayer. I’m sure it pleased the Father to hear that snot and tears… I connected with God. He did some things in my heart.

Messy prayers mean and do more than unarticulated and unsaid prayers [Click to Tweet]

God is never surprised or puzzled when our (messy, articulated) prayers reach His ears. Like a parents having pleasure at their children’s attempt to speak, I know God loved hearing from me.

Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Rather the messy prayer than none at all…

What other barriers stop people from praying? Like me, have you had similar experience(s) in your prayer life?

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