Sometimes I will ask one of our daughters to pray before a meal or before going to bed at night. As they pray, they will sometimes stumble over their words or forget what they were trying to say or say something that doesn’t make much sense. They will end the prayer and then start apologizing for how they messed up the prayer or they will kick themselves for a poor word choice or line that sounded dumb.
As adults, when we find ourselves inept in our prayer life we aren’t full of apologies or anger at ourselves. Instead, we just stop praying. We think that we don’t have the skill for it or no one is listening or nothing sounds very spiritual or that God is bored with our unimaginative words.
In reality, God delights in hearing from us and relishes each word that comes out of our mouths and longs to have time with us where he can communicate and have us communicate with him.
I don’t berate our daughters when they mess up their prayers. I don’t criticize them for their prayer miscues. If their father, who is prone to grumpiness and annoyance and can be overly critical, isn’t being too hard on them as they pray, why on earth would their loving Father in heaven think they have screwed up?
Likewise, as those of us who are more mature in their life with Christ pray we can take the pressure off of ourselves.
Just now, as I was writing this, I paused to get up from my computer and said a prayer for this blog post. Here was my prayer, “Father, may your will be done with this post, may this post be well, may this post bring someone joy and peace, and may someone know the extent of your love for them through reading this.”
I obviously was forcing my prayer about my blog post into language that I use for other prayers. Why? Because I don’t usually have very articulate words to pray and I need the structure of a prayer pattern to keep me focused and praying for important things.
The format and structure doesn’t matter. The point is, God is hearing me, God is ready to answer my prayers, and God is delighted that I am wanting to talk to him again today.
We all would be better off to quit overthinking our prayers and just sit for a while and let the words come. This may be one minute or 25 minutes but just sit and start mentioning what you want to thank God for, ask him to help a few people in your life that you care about, ask him to change your heart to be more like Christ’s, and be willing to listen too.
You and God are doing this life thing together whether we recognize it or not so you might as well start talking to him about it. He has no condemnation for you, only open arms and ears to hear from his beloved child.