talking to God

someone has asked me for my thoughts on prayer.

let me start by telling you that when i was young, i hated prayer time. i dreaded it. i lay in bed staring up into the darkness trying to ward off sleep so i wouldn’t have to pray. because once i did it would take forever, thanks to the sheet of paper tacked up on my wall crammed with names of people who needed praying for… and i would not allow myself to actually sleep until i’d prayed for every single one of them.

prayer back then was a one-sided ritual which had no impact upon my life except for the few fluttering minutes before i drifted off to sleep. back then i thought if i didn’t pray for all of those people, they were going to hell. but in fact, i can’t save anyone and no matter how fervant my prayers, God doesn’t care about the words or the names so much as he cares about the heart.

you see, God invented language for us to be able to communicate with each other. but language, as we well know, is so very limiting. and depending entirely on language to talk with the inventer of language is like trying to shove God into our concept of ‘time’ or ‘3-D’. he is beyond earthly confines; he exists within, around, without, above, below, and throughout eternity. he is in the past, the present and the future all at the same ‘time’ because for him, life holds no boundaries.

all this to say, i shouldn’t have cared so much what i prayed. the Bible says, “perfect love casts out fear.” i knew no love at that time; i was living in perpetual fear, thanks to a disease which ravaged my mind. but today i am finally learning the freedom of serving a God who expects nothing of me except a broken and a contrite spirit. in other words, he wants me AS I AM, pitiful prayers and all. and by ‘pitiful,’ i mean, REAL. he wants a conversation with us. he wants our silences, our moments of exclamation and praise, our spontaneous songs in the middle of the day, our thoughts in the middle of the night when we can’t sleep. he can hear it all. he doesn’t need a well-versed prayer which has been rehearsed and memorized. he can understand the heart’s language, the pounding pulsating needs of a bleeding heart.

for me, this explains how those with intellectual handicaps or infants or those whose minds have long since left due to alzheimers or schizophrenia can still commune with Christ. he wouldn’t stop listening simply because they forgot the words. because words don’t matter to him. it’s all about the state of the heart. and if you believe, and if you want to know him, and if you’re trying to find him with all of your strength, that’s the best prayer you could ever utter.

a wordless prayer, speaking right into the ears of our maker.

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1 Comment

  1. Teneale said,

    April 2, 2008 at 1:33 am

    Thank you for this email of hope…and for maybe putting some words into my confused heart. I get what you are saying, but have just been unable to put it into my own words.


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