Prayer is an activity that unites us in our shared humanity. It’s a glorious gift from God to help us commune with Him and daily turn our hearts toward His mercy, grace and forgiving love. One that’s independent of a specific time, method or place, though it can include all those things.
Prayer can involve confession, worship, thanksgiving, intercession and praise. It’s where heaven miraculously touches earth with grace. We often tie ourselves up in liturgical or theological knots and make the practice of prayer far more complicated than it is or needs to be.
Because at its simplest, at the heart, prayer is about open communication, a vital part of our relationship and conversations with God, which can be as straightforward, varied or complex as we are ourselves. We mustn’t let our fear of getting it wrong prevent us from praying.
“Prayer is the most effective means at our disposal for the cleansing of our mind and emotions. This is because it places the mind in God’s bright light and the emotions in his warm love. Prayer is like water that makes plants grow and extinguishes fires.” —Francis De Sales
I’ve found that writing poetry always helps me process my thoughts and feelings. So I’m sharing a poem here that reveals something of the simplicity, mystery and diversity of prayer. I’d love you to chime in with your own thoughts and experiences.
Prayer Prayer is as simple, elementary as a breath, a sigh. Or as complicated as we want it to be when we pile in Scripture, breviary, dogma, and litany. Prayer can be deeply personal, individual, a solo effort. Or communal, corporate, national, even global in its reach, spreading universally. Prayer is a heart’s cry, an ache we feel inside, a longing and desire, a need that’s unaddressed until something inside of us breaks out like a fire. Prayer can be a silent activity, quietly contemplative, routine and regular. Or arising as a shout, a cry, as tears unleashed at last, as laughter, singing, chanting and dancing. Prayer may not come easily to us, which is why we need Holy Spirit’s input and help. He alone can understand and hear the unsaid thoughts, the unknown flaws, the silent groans, the falling tears. Prayer is a gift God bestows on us, on you and me, on all humanity, to help turn our hearts toward his own, as he wraps us in his love, the best we’ve ever known. © joylenton
“Thank you that it is your gracious will to make use of me at my weakest, to fulfil your mighty purpose for the world. Let my life today be a channel through which at least a little of your love and compassion may reach the lives of those around me.” — A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie
PS: I’ve been blessed by reading an early copy of an inviting book called ‘A Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewal’ by author Sarah Bessey, who has contributed to and edited an eclectic collection of voices writing about prayer. It will be published on Tuesday, February 9th, and is a helpful, thought-provoking resource which inspired the poem above.
Let’s pause to thank God together here for the great gift of prayer and how it draws us closer to Him… 🙂 ❤