When I was a little girl, I was taught certain prayers. We were taught the “Lord’s Prayer” in Sunday School and then prayed a little prayer over our food “God is Great, God is Good and we thank him for this Food” . The night time prayer was “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.
It wasn’t until I was in my forties that Jesus called me back to his side. Now I had kept up praying to him all those years, but I never really did anything to improve my relationship with him. I made some huge mistakes and my life was controlled by someone else for almost 20 years, but I know it was through prayers that he delivered me from that situation.
When I went back to church in my forties, I would hear people in the church praying and thought I could never pray like that. I wouldn’t know when to say “thou” or “thee” in my prayers and I didn’t fully understand why some would pray to “Father God” and others would pray to “Jesus” and even some others would ask the “holy Ghost” to have his way.
I learned quickly about the trinity but I was still glad that no one asked me to say the prayer because I was certain that I wouldn’t say it the right way, that I would stumble over my words and people would look at me funny. One Sunday a visiting pastor talked about prayer. He said if you weren’t sure how to pray to just visualize Jesus sitting next to your bed and holding a conversation with you in the same manner that a friend would.
Boy, did that relieve me because I still believed that my prayers were so inadequate that God would ignore them. I was glad to find out there was no set protocol for praying. I found it easy to pray like that and I quickly realized that I could talk to him anywhere I went and I still do.
There are still those that try to say you must pray a certain way, that you must first thank him for his blessings, then ask forgiveness of the sins you committed that day, then pray for all others before praying for yourself, but in some circumstances, especially if you need immediate answers, that just doesn’t work. This method makes some sense but I don’t believe it has to be done in a certain order.
My nightly prayers are an all night event. I usually fall asleep half way through, so every time I wake up to get a drink of water or use the bathroom, I apologize to the Lord and go back to sleep, starting where I left off. I sometimes wonder if he gets tired of my constant prayers, but somehow I doubt it.
Basically there is no wrong way to pray. Of course there are certain things you shouldn’t pray for; anything to do with greed like praying to get rich, win the lottery or get a large inheritance, or anything to do with vengeful acts on another. You shouldn’t pray any kind of selfish prayer because that is not what he wants to hear and that is not how he wants us to act.
There is one more thing I will say about prayer and it’s something that I just learned. When you pray, sometimes you need to pause and listen. Don’t make it such a rushed procedure so you can hurry up and go to sleep. Quick prayers for immediate needs are just fine, but if you are going through a list in your morning or evening prayer, stop once in awhile and listen.
I think sometimes we get in a hurry. We don’t stop to listen, to see if maybe God is sending us a message or answering one of our prayers. Everyday he talks to me and shows me something new. Everyday I learn something more about praising him in my prayers and accepting the answers he decides are the right ones.
In the early morning, when I step out on the back deck and start my morning prayer, there are times when I look around at the beauty of his world, the natural beauty, not what man has made and I smile and I can almost hear him say “I made this all for you my child” and all I can say is “thank you” over and over again.
1 Chronicles 16:11 Look to the Lord and his strength, seek his face always.
Jeremiah 29:12 Then you will call on me, and come and pray to me and I will listen to you.