“Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.'” Luke 11:1
Prayer is an important part of our relationship with God. How can you have a relationship with someone you never talk to? That’s what prayer is: a conversation with God. And conversation goes both ways; many people think of prayer as just talking to God, asking Him to do this or give you that, telling Him what’s going on in your life, what you like and what you don’t like…I’m not saying not to do any of those things, but as with any conversation, you need to listen, too. Otherwise, it’s not really a conversation, is it? More of a monologue. And as much as God loves listening to us, He loves to talk to us, too.
But I suspect the topic of having a conversation with God will come up again, so I will leave it there for now. There’s another point I’d like to make, one at least as important.
Jesus’s disciples asked Him to teach them to pray; in response, He gave them what we know as “The Lord’s Prayer”, as well as some general advice about prayer. There’s actually quite a lot written about prayer, and multiple passages where Jesus speaks about prayer. We’re given things to pray for, we’re told what the right and wrong attitudes toward prayer are…and there are people who preach sermons and teach lessons on the topic of prayer, there are many books out there that say they will teach you how to pray, and how to pray with power…there is so much information on prayer out there, so many different things we feel we have to keep in mind as we pray…it can feel overwhelming at times. I know it does for me.
I think sometimes that we make prayer too complicated. Yes, there are lots of things to pray for, there’s a lot to keep in mind, and I’m not saying that none of it is important. However, I believe that what God wants most is for us to seek Him out, to open our hearts to Him, to seek to know Him and be known to Him. God already knows everything we have to say; it is the act of coming to Him and saying it that fills Him with joy. That is what He wants from us.
Conversations build relationships. Prayer builds our relationship with God. When everything seems overwhelming, when you don’t know what to pray for, or there’s just too much to pray for…even if you don’t really feel like praying at all but see it as your duty to pray, just start speaking to God from your heart. Be honest with Him. Remember, you’re not talking to a random stranger, or someone you’ve run into a few times: you’re talking to someone who deeply, truly loves you, who is thrilled that you’re talking to Him, and is profoundly interested in everything you have to say and cares about everything you care about-and nothing you say or do is ever going to change any of that.