August 19, 2020
Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Colossians 4:2
I’ve always struggled with prayer. I don’t enjoy praying out loud as the words never seem to flow naturally as they do for so many. When I prayed as a little girl, it was the same every night: “Now I lay me down to sleep… .” I said it methodically and never really thought about the words. When I was a young mom, I was always amazed when others would talk about spending hours in the Bible and prayer time while I was so busy and tired I’d fall asleep before my head hit the pillow. It left me feeling guilty and inadequate.
At some point as a young mom, a speaker’s words changed me. She had me examine my prayer life. Why didn’t I feel comfortable? Why didn’t I have time? Why did I feel like I was doing it wrong? I discovered a few things about myself. For starters, I wasn’t doing it wrong – there’s simply no right or wrong way to do it. I discovered that Biblical knowledge was not a requirement for prayer. And I learned that you don’t need a fancy prayer closet or hours on end to make prayer meaningful.
The story I heard was about a young mom who was raising many children in a tiny home. When she needed prayer time, she simply sat in the corner of the kitchen and pulled her apron up over her head. That was the signal to her kids that it was mama’s prayer time and she needed a few minutes.
My prayer life flourished with a few simple changes. I changed evening prayer time with my kids to be meaningful words from the heart rather than reciting someone else’s prayer. I changed prayer time to be any time – a quick 30 seconds every time we’d pass a car accident, a reminder to the kids to drop their pencils and pray before taking a test, a short prayer when reading about someone in the news who was struggling. Prayer soon became a part of our lives. While we continued to pray for our concerns, we also found ourselves saying more prayers of thanksgiving.
Don’t get me wrong – I still have a long way to go. But praying less perfectly has given me peace. It’s so comforting to give my concerns to God – no matter how small. It’s nice going through life, especially in these times, talking to God on a regular basis. I heard something on the radio a few years back that has stuck with me. “What if you woke up tomorrow and had only the things that you thanked God for today?” Pray now. Pray often. Pray imperfectly. Just pray.