Let me start with a simple question today: HOW do you pray? Are you a down-on-your-knees person…or a vocal, hands-outstretched-to-Heaven supplicant… or, possibly, someone who’s a “desperate-in-the-moment” pleading beggar? And, more importantly, does it even make a difference?
Now, this is just my opinion, but I firmly believe there is NO “wrong” way to pray! And, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been counted among ALL of the above categories. However, it wasn’t until just a few years ago, I learned about a whole new way of approaching prayer – and it’s been a TOTAL game-changer!
See, the actual “nuts-and-bolts” way(s) we’ve been taught – or learned along the way – to pray, could be WHY so few people have unwavering faith in their prayers. Don’t get me wrong; any and ALL efforts to instill prayerfulness into a life should be commended. My contention is… we just don’t go FAR enough. Let me explain, via my own story:
“Raise Up A Child In The Way They Should Go…”
I had a deeply-ingrained spiritual, biblical, upbringing – raised as both a staunch Protestant in the South and a practicing Reform Jew. Yep… an interesting combo! So, I honestly cannot remember a time in my life where prayer did NOT play a role in my daily life. As a child, it started with saying grace over dinner and kneeling down at night for my bedtime prayers. And, all were supervised and encouraged by my parents – a KEY factor.
As I got older, these prayer venues expanded to include public places, such as churches and synagogues, classrooms (yeah, I’m “old” enough to remember praying over the PA), before school games or events, and at various religious ceremonies or milestones. And, I would even pray “spontaneously” sometimes. However, when I did pray privately, it looked and sounded more like a rote, convoluted, ritual… rather than the ongoing CONVERSATION it should be!
On A Wing And A Prayer?
But, just like most people, to me sending up prayers was sort of like putting a message in a bottle, tossing it into an ocean, and hoping not only that someone would find it, but actually send help! It felt like a divine carrier pigeon situation. There’s a reason phrases like “on a wing and a prayer” even EXIST, to express both the hope – and simultaneous hopelessness – that are usually associated with any prayer. And the kicker… it isn’t even necessarily a distinct lack of faith in God!
YES, faith does play a key role! Basically, prayer without faith IS throwing that message into a vast ocean. But, it goes SOOOOO far beyond that. While I had faith in my God and His love for me, it was a “surface” faith. It did not have a concrete, tangible, “done deal” confidence behind it. You “asked” God for something: a positive outcome, healing, blessings – and then hoped for the best. As I got older, I understood the concept of “sometimes His answer is ‘No'” and came to accept that as part of the “prayer contract.” It wasn’t until YEARS later, I understood how this relationship really worked!
“Growing Into” My Faith
It took a deeper faith, more spiritual maturity, to finally accept and BELIEVE that once you put something – anything – in His hands, it IS a “done deal!” No need to keep asking; no continual follow-up reminders; nope…He’s GOT IT! Now, I well-know I have to do my part. I can’t just sit back, pour a glass of wine and twiddle my thumbs, because I called Him in as my “Project Manager.” It’s my responsibility to use everything He has already given me, to work in tandem with Him, to achieve this goal. But, with God working on anything you GIVE to Him, doors miraculously open, new avenues appear, ingenious ideas materialize, the impossible now appears completely doable.
NOW, I was ready for the next level! I finally figured out that every time I pray, it doesn’t always have to be about the “ask”… these days, it’s frequently about the “thanks” or simply to express GRATITUDE. Even God likes being acknowledged for the uncountable things He does in my life every day! And, that’s what took our relationship – and my faith – to a HIGHER plane.
God DOES “Sweat The Small Stuff!”
Now, up to this point you’ve probably noticed how I keep saying “anything” when it comes to what you actually pray about or take to Him. You’ve got to be thinking, “Why would I pester the Almighty with my meal planning… or anything ELSE, equally mundane?!” To ME, it was borderline sacrilegious! But, that’s when I received the most amazing insight from a coworker.
Someone had mentioned, just in passing, that this woman literally prayed about everything and I just HAD to ask her. Let me tell you, it revolutionized the way I pray! She prayed while grocery shopping, she prayed about routes on a trip, she prayed over social invitations. STOP! Right now, I know exactly what you’re thinking – because it was what I thought at the time!
See, that’s where we go off the rails with this prayer thing. Precisely because we think of God as this big, omnipotent, universal Creator, we think He’s too important or busy with the “BIG” stuff, for us to bother Him with our piddly little day-in, day-out stuff.
WRONG! Think about your other relationships, those MOST dear and precious to you. WHAT exactly makes those relationships so special? It’s sharing all the “little” things. As a parent, when you ask your child about their day at school, you want DETAILS, not just a one-word “Fine.” You expect your best friend to tell you about those inconsequential “little” things in their life; it deepens and reinforces the bond you have. What happens in a marriage when partners ONLY talk about the “big” issues and never share the daily “little” things? You’re not “bothering” God, you’re actually drawing Him closer – making Him a very REAL part of your day-to-day life!
Think Of G.O.D. As Your B.F.F.
We’ve become SO conditioned to think of God as more of a “way-up-there, out-of-reach” entity, rather than our very best friend. And who couldn’t use an all-powerful BFF, to always be on your side, who always wants the best for you, someone who will always advocate for you and always have your back?! NOT ME!
But, the very coolest thing of all has happened. I now have daily, on-going conversations with my heavenly BFF and I actually see and hear His answers for my very specific, “piddly” little questions all throughout my day! However, one of the most tangible examples can be found right inside our King’s Ransom Foundation doors and family.
The pure faith demonstrated every day, as King’s Ransom continues to expand the scope of projects and aid worldwide, is nothing short of miraculous! They pray, they place it in His hands… and you can SEE the products of this faith. Just check out our social media pages, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube and see for yourself!
These folks have ALL seen their prayers, offered up in faith, answered. And although it took me QUITE a bit of time to overcome my “guilt” (must be my Jewish side) for “disturbing” God with my bits and pieces, I can now firmly say it is the BEST thing that has ever happened in my relationship with my Father. So… back to our original question: Does HOW you pray really matter? In a word, YES – and it can change your world, just like it changed mine!