November 3, 2011

Hope Through Prayer

I think a lot of people get hung up on the idea of what prayer should be. They think they need to pray fancy words or say just the right words, or to pray for a long time or in a certain way.

Let’s keep it simple. Prayer is communication with God. That’s really all there is to it. He created us, we are His children, and He wants to have a relationship with us.

He doesn’t care if you have a PhD or a GED. Your words need not be fancy. He simply loves to know what’s on our minds. Of course, He already knows, but He likes for us to come to Him and develop a relationship.  A simple prayer of, “You know my need, Lord” opens your heart to Him in a way that trying to muddle through your troubles on your own just doesn’t do.

Why not think of prayer as an all-day conversation with God? This is my view of what to "pray without ceasing” means. It doesn’t mean chanting all the live-long day. At least I don't think so. Just keep the conversation flowing, and share with Him what is on your mind.

The way I see it, frequent prayer keeps God in the forefront of my thoughts as I go about my day.
When I wake up in the morning, I say a simple prayer of thanks for rest and safekeeping while we slept. Sometimes it’s as simple as, “Good Morning, Lord!”  Then, as my son gets on the school bus to go out into the world for another day, I pray for his safety and for the safety of all the children.

After my husband leaves for work, I pray for his day. I pray for our sons at college as they go about working so hard toward their futures, and for our oldest son as he  finds his way in life. I pray for God to guide them and to let His presence be known to them. None of these are long, drawn out prayers. I simply ask for what I need and pray in Jesus’ name.

Throughout the day as prayer requests or special needs arise, I take time right then and there to pray for the person. That way I won't forget during my busy day and I speak to God when the urgent need is placed on my heart. 

I thank God a lot, too. Gratitude fills most of my prayers. And it can be as simple as “Thank you”. When I safely traverse a usually dangerous intersection with not a car in sight, I smile and I thank Him. When I see beauty in nature that causes me to pause and feel gratitude all the way down to my soul,  I pray my praise and thanks. When I receive the gift of friendship and it warms my heart, I know God is in the midst of this. Each time I feel gratitude, I offer a prayer of thankfulness.

The simplest prayer I have ever muttered was also the hardest for me to say. When we are trying so hard to accomplish something on our own, we don’t like asking for help. But there comes a time when our resources are depleted, we have nothing left, and in desperation cry out, “Help me, Lord!” 

He will come to us, and help us in ways we might not have foreseen. He hears our prayers. He wants to hear our prayers. And He wants to keep the conversation going.

We give thanks for food before we eat, and thanks for our day before we sleep.  Living with an “attitude of gratitude” can raise our spirits and help us navigate this challenging life.

Keep it simple. Speak to Him. Let Him know your heart. And you will begin to know a deeper relationship with your Maker than you could have imagined. Ask Him to guide your steps, and show you the way He wants you to go.

And remember to tell Him that you Love Him. “I love you, Lord” is the most beautiful prayer. “Thank you for loving me” is a wonderful way to end your day.

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