If somebody asked me “What would you make different in your life, if you could start from scratch?” I would answer: “I would pray more and would trust in God more.”
“Praying”, the trustful conversation with God is so naturally for the Christians like the air we need to breathe. That is easy said. Is it clear to us, that our faith dwarfs to an ideology, when we don’t pray anymore? Our faith lives by the prayer. Praying is the breathing of the faith.
And nevertheless: often we don’t know how we should pray. Even the disciples of Jesus, which come from a rich Jewish praying tradition, don’t know exactly what they should say in the prayer. Actually astonishing, they yet knew the Psalms, the prayer book of the Jews. “How shall we pray?” they ask Jesus. His answer is the “Our Father”. He himself often retreats into silence and solitude of the night to be alone with God. He doesn’t pray in public to show his piety, but his heart looks for communion with God in silence.
Prayer is far more than a recited “Our Father”, Prayer is a being. A being yourself in being in front of God – in silence. Preferred in silence. But there is also an inner awareness across the day, as we although we notice everything with our senses, are in addition to that attentive on another level for God.
As when we are attentive to our breath, what is hard enough and needs practice. As we practice in meditation to become present in everyday life, the time in silence in prayer in front of God has influence on how much we are aware of God in our everyday life in school, university or our occupations. We are not alone, God is present!
And when we talk to God, what shall we say then? What shall one say to this? That there are thanksgiving prayers, prayers of penitence, petitionary prayers for oneself and others, that you can praise and worship God? Yes, that’s all so right, but in this listing to static, to formal, to lifeless. That is like defining in an advisor for relationships, about what the partners have to speak that there relationship stays vital. Do we recognize how unnatural that is to speak in such way about prayer?
But indeed: Praying is very similar to the communion, silence and talk of the beloved. In prayer I can be myself and can say God everything what depresses me. In prayer I can marvel about God’s holiness. About that God wants to have something to do with me. That he sees me and knows who I am. He let me be a human and changes me through his presence.
I learn to pray by praying. Learning by doing. We can read a lot of inspiring books about praying but to learn to pray we have to drop into God’s presence like swimmers into water.
Than we recognize at the time: Oh, for that I don’t pray (e.g. Luxury goods). Or this friend needs my prayer. God changes us during the time of praying. When we are praying we are moving in the realm of eternity. Our little, gray and daily lives are standing still for a little eternity.
A looking on our watches to check when the planed praying time is off misses the point and spoils everything. A fulfilling, deep prayer forgets time, because it submerges into eternity.
The more and the longer we pray, the more a consciousness of God’s presence in our daily lives becomes constituted. There are times in which we are overfilled with words, because there’s so much we want to tell God. Then there are times that is not so. Then a short “Our Father” or with an open heart prayed Psalm is enough.
When we pray, we needn’t to be afraid that God has any claims to form and wording of our prayers. It is better to say a child’s prayer with an honest heart, than to make nice words with a cold heart. God is looking at our hearts and – fortunately – God often doesn’t take us by our words, because he knows what we really need. It’s a mystery: even if we don’t know what we shall pray, the Holy Spirit represents us in front of God with unpronounceable sigh.
From my free e-book at smashwords.com: