This week I realized for the first time that any time I post something on Prayer, all sorts of people ‘like’ and ‘share’ and ‘comment’ and ‘retweet’. And it’s not the super-spiritual folk either (only the super spiritual are called “folk” actually – the rest of us are just, I don’t know, ordinary people). It’s the ordinary people, people with jobs and kids – but not perfect jobs, and far from perfect kids, who are checking in and adding their “yeah, me too” to the post.
I think this verse from Stephen c. Rose catches it perfectly:
”To say a prayer is no small thing to one unused to praying. To one who prays a prayer is everything It opens up the only way”
I think most of us feel pretty new to the whole idea that God picks up his phone, answers his own calls, and replies to his email.
We don’t know what to say and how to say it, and if we’re honest, I think most people feel pressure when they pray.
“What if I mess this up or say it wrong?”
And even those who aren’t new to prayer or praying recognize the sheer magnitude of words spoken in private prayer to the God who literally died to feel our presence again.
But all of us – at all sorts of different times in our lives – feel a pull to prayer.
Sometimes it’s when prayer is the only thing you haven’t tried or what you have tried isn’t working.
Sometimes it’s when you see a prayer online and you realize that there’s a part of you that wishes you knew how to say all that you want to say so that you could feel closer to God.
So today I’ve got:
The Tongue-tied guide to perfect prayer. – three steps to revitalize your prayer life.
Step 1: Pour yourself a great cup of coffee.
Question: Anytime people decide they want to start praying, they’re always self-conscious about how long they should be praying.
Perfect Answer: As long as it takes you to savour a great cup of coffee. – prayer doesn’t have to be long to be meaningful but whatever time you do spend praying, you should make sure it’s good and hot – savour it!
Step 2: Grab your headphones and go to Noisli.com
and mix a dash of trees, 3 dashes of camp fire and a bit of Algonquin wave action to keep the fire under control ( click here if you’re new to the whole serenity DJ scene )
Question: As long as it takes to savour a coffee!?! How am I going to concentrate that long?
Perfect Answer: dialling up some Noisli does 2 things to help you pray – first it masks the sounds of your kids fighting over who emptied the milk jug and didn’t re-fill it, and second, it gives you some new sounds to focus on. – great prayer doesn’t happen in the time you spend talking, it happens when you start to recognize God speaking to you in the sounds all around you. Sure there’s peacefulness in the rhythms of nature but it gets really exciting when you hear something you didn’t expect.
Step 3: plagiarize, plagiarize, let nothing good escape your eyes!
Question: What if I really can’t think of anything to say?
Perfect Answer: If you can’t think of anything to pray or find words to express what you want to pray, borrow something good from someone else! Every morning and every night I pray through Psalms, hymns and prayers that “folk” far more spiritual than I have written, sung or prayed to express some pretty important stuff to God. But none of what they went through is any more important to God than what I’m going through, so without apology I borrow some pretty sweet sounding prayers that give voice to all the hopes and dreams that I carry inside of me every day.
Bottom Line: What matters is that you find a way to develop some habits of your own that make prayer part of your day. With coffee or without. With sound or in silence. Eloquent or in broken english. Try something new or go with what you know, but practice prayer today.
Looking for a prayer to try on this week? How bout this one. Or this one.