Pray first Christianity

A Prayer about Prayer

Dear God,
I don’t really know what I’m supposed to say.
I’ve never been good at praying, if I’m honest.
But then you knew that… because you know everything.
Which is what makes me wonder why you tell us to pray, in the first place.

If you know what we’re going to say, and what we’re thinking even when we’re never going to say it, why do you need me to pray at all?
If prayer is just talking to you, which it is, why can’t I get on with other things instead which I’m sure you’d rather I do? Like helping poor people, or reading the Bible, or something else like that?
Except I wouldn’t do those things, would I? I’d just watch the TV or read a book or pretend I was doing something useful.
Is that why you tell us to pray?
To keep us from wasting time?

I suppose if we’re praying, we are actually thinking about the things you’ve told us to think about.
Good things and positive things and things that will build us up instead of bring us down.
Not that we think much about that when we pray.
We usually just complain and tell you what we want.
I suppose that’s good, though, if we ask for what we need…

But you can’t enjoy that, can you?
Listening to us moaning about what bothers us, or asking you for everything we want when it’s often just what we think we need.
I don’t think I’d enjoy that.
But, I guess it’s better than nothing at all.
Is that why you tell us to pray?
Because you just want to hear our voices, even if our prayers are so simple and misguided, and we presume to know more than you?

You do enjoy it, don’t you?
You enjoy hearing from your children.
Even when we’re angry or sad or upset or just plain wrong.
You actually enjoy it.

Of course we shouldn’t just moan and demand things from you; not that there’s anything wrong with those things, at times.
David did an awful lot of that in the Bible, so I know you don’t mind us being completely honest about what we feel and just pouring out our hearts to you even if it’s messy.
But you deserve our praise, too. And our thanks.
Even David did that – right in the middle of his messy heart-emptying sessions!
So, regardless of what I feel, you deserve our praise and thanks.

Of course you do! And how often do I give you that?
How often is it actually more about me than the One I’m talking to?
Correction: talking at.
Because, I don’t really give you space to answer, do I?
I mean I should, of course I should.
But, do I?

A one sided conversation doesn’t get you very far in any aspect of life, so why do I think it will with you?
Is that why you want us to pray?
Because you want to answer the things we ask you about?

Is prayer really a conversation rather than a monologue?
I suppose that you know everything we are going to say, but we don’t know what you want to say unless we stop and listen.
If prayer is a two-way thing, maybe you’ve got just as much to say as I have?
Maybe even more (if I give you the chance)…

I thought prayer was just talking to you. But it’s not, is it?
It’s listening to you as well.
Is that why my prayers are so draining?
And I often don’t know what to say?
And it doesn’t seem like I’m getting anywhere with it?

Is it because I’ve turned a dialogue into a monologue?
A conversation into a complaint?
A fresh sharing of thoughts into a repetitive continuous shopping list?
Am I trying to do all the work when really you just want me to sit back and relax and listen, for a change?
Maybe it’s your turn now.
And I just need to stop…

Feels a bit strange doing that, if I’m honest.
My mind might wander onto other things.
Or I might think it’s you when it’s just me making it up.
Or I might fall asleep… especially if I don’t concentrate really hard like I always do, when I’m praying.
Maybe you don’t mind if I don’t always get it right.

You know I’m not perfect – I certainly don’t need to tell you that!
Is it worth me getting it wrong for the benefits of hearing from you when I get it right?
Silly question…

Sorry for not getting all this sooner, God.
I don’t know why I didn’t just tell you all this, before.
I guess I just felt stupid for not being able to do what everyone else seems so good at.
Maybe I’m not the only one to think that, though.

Would you help everyone who thought like me to realise what I’ve realised today please, Lord?
That you want us to pray to set our minds on good things that will keep us on the right track.
That you love all your kids so much, you just want to hear what we have to say.
And that you want to answer us, too, because that’s also an important part of prayer.
You want to answer us with things that will help us, encourage us, lift us up, maybe even correct us…

Well, on that note, I’m going to give you some space to talk now, God.
I know I haven’t thanked and praised you enough for a while, but I’m going to do that after I’ve just stopped for a bit.
Because I really feel I need to do that right now.
Just stop.
And listen.


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