Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed, droops on the little hands, little golden head; Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares! Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.Vespers by A. A. Milne
When I was a child I knelt every night at the side of my bed and said my prayers. Somewhere in the teen years this habit faded. I started worrying that I wasn’t praying properly. My pryaers became sporadic.
There is no right or wrong way to pray. Whether we do it formally together in church, by ourselves, or just talk to God as we go through the day, our prayers are still heard.
Prayer: Help me to learn that all of life is a prayer. But let me remember that time for intentional, concentrated prayer is important too.
We can have hard times in our lives. I’m sure this is one of them for many of us. When this happens we rely on the strength we can count on. The strength God supplies for us. One version of The Lord’s Prayer in the New Zealand Prayer Book makes it very clear that God is there for us. This is just an excerpt.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and for ever. Amen.
I use that prayer at at night along my personal prayers. Right now the line From trials too great to endure, spare us speaks to clearly to me. God knows there are hard times and is there for us every second. Just call on God.
Prayer is as natural as breathing. Sometimes we may pray without even knowing like smoke lifting toward the sky. But we do have to pray. We have to keep at it. There is no formula for prayer although we can use a formal prayer. Sometimes it is easier to recite something we have memorized but don’t be afraid to reach out to God in anyplace at any time.
You can pray out loud if you want. Sometimes my prayers are sung as in a meditative song or chant. God is listening no matter what. Be persistent in prayer. Keep on…keep on…keep on even if you feel that there is no one there. Feelings can get in the way. PRAY NO MATTER WHAT!!
Today I spent the day with a friend whose husband is ill. I called people I know will follow through and asked for prayer. Sometimes prayer is the only thing that we can do. We need to remember that it is the most important thing that we can do. No matter what else we do to help don’t forget to pray.
“Praying is like using a cell phone. Sometimes we have a clear communication or hear and be heard clearly. At other times there is no signal.” loosely quoted from “The Two Popes.”
Sometimes we think that prayer does no good. We don’t seem to have any answer and it seems that no one is listening. Sometimes we are in “the dark night of the soul” feel as if we are praying into a void.
All those feeling and doubts are our side of the prayer. God has not moved. God is still listening. We can’t “expect” to feel something all the time. That is not how it goes. Feelings get in our way. Put them aside and just know that prayer works. Prayer is a way to share those feelings with God. Don’t be afraid to complain about it seeming useless. Fuss if you feel that way. Tell God everything. God gets it. Just keep on praying.
The past few weeks I have been blessed with what I call “God moments.” These are times when with eyes open we can see God working. One was at a visit to meet a surgeon and schedule surgery on my thyroid. In my experience most surgeons are good at their job but not the greatest at bedside manner. This physician was the exception. He made me feel heard, understood and I could sense his compassion. The surgery is not a difficult one as long as it goes as expected.
Following seeing him I was ushered to someone to schedule the surgery. In her cubicle there were Biblical quotes and words of encouragement.She was kind caring and efficient. My surgery was scheduled for the week following Thanksgiving. She remembered my desire to have it over as soon as possible and when the Dr. decided to work on this Friday called to offer that date to me. I accepted with pleasure that she remembered. She then took the time to pray for me and my surgery.
As another of my friends says “the arangels were at work.” I could see God’s hand in all that has happened and pray for the best outcome. God is present in our lives if we just take the time to see it.
Send your prayers for me on Friday.
A prayer from the New Zealand Prayer Book of the Anglican Church. This is another of the prayers that I find so dear to my heart. The wording always makes me think in a different way. See if you like it.
Be present, Spirit of God,
within us, your dwelling place and home,
that this house may be one where
all darkness is penetrated by your light,
all troubles calmed by your peace,
all evil redeemed by your love,
all pain transformed in your suffering,
and all dying glorified in your risen life. Amen.
Think about us being the dwelling place of God and his home. I plan to use this prayer every day.
I have been doing intercessory prayer for many years. Some times I really feel the anguish of those on my list. At other time I feel as if I am just reciting names. I am sure that God hears every name and I am forgiven for my lack of attention but I can sense the difference when I am present in their pain. I love this statement from Br. Geoffrey
|Intercession True intercession, the sort that Jesus shares with the Father, is not just a detached impassioned shopping list of the needs of the world, nor is it informing God of something God knows already. Rather, it is a profound, loving, and costly holding up of others who are on our hearts before God. True intercession is being with God, with the people on our hearts.
-Br. Geoffrey Tristram
Society of Saint John the Evangelist
I am a member of a group who pray daily for others. The list of people can grow quite long but I try not to miss praying. Prayers for others is call Intercessory Prayer. I find that it can take the focus away from my problems and help me to see all the many needs in the world. I don’t always know what the need is but know that God is aware. I often ask for Jesus to heal all ills and make his presence felt in their lives. Praying for others is a blessing for me.
[ Instructions concerning Prayer ] First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone,
There are times in our lives when we begin to think that God isn’t helping us….or that God isn’t even there. Those times are hard. From an early age I have felt that God was with me….most of the time. Sometimes when I am anxious and I can’t seem to “feel” God with me I am lost. I don’t know what to do. Is everything that I believed a lie? I am cast into a deep dark hole. I am in the “valley of the shadow of death.” I am not just anxious but afraid. My worst fears raise their ugly heads and take hold of me.
When I am like that I can’t pray. I am so far down that prayer won’t come. I am lost. Then I remember that I have a community of faith who pray daily and that their prayers rise like smoke to God and God reaches down to me and helps me. I may not “feel” his presence since feelings ebb and flow but he is there. And somehow I am comforted.
There are definitely times when we can’t pray for ourselves. That’s why we need others who will pray for us.