In its best form, prayer is simply an ongoing communication with a heavenly parent who simply adores you and can’t wait to talk to you about every little thing. Somehow we have twisted prayer into a set of rubrics (“Do the A.C.T.S. of Prayer!”), a florid flood of flowery flowing words (“I don’t pray out loud because I can’t pray like the preacher does every Sunday”), or rote repetition (when was the last time you really, truly thought about the words of the Lord’s Prayer?) It’s just not that complicated, people. Prayer is just talking.
I am a big advocate of the open dialogue that runs between God and his people when we set aside our preconceptions about prayer and just talk. When you practice open dialogue, it’s like you have your earbuds in, your speaker button on, and you just yak away. Talking to God like this throughout the day is a wonderful way to be in his presence. You can dialogue through your morning coffee and share your anticipations and concerns about the day. As you go about your work, dialogue about the traffic, your co-workers, assignments that are due, tasks you are worried about…you get the idea.
I practice this form of open dialogue prayer. I am sure I look like a mad woman driving down the road with my mouth flapping. About ten times a day I ask Jesus to take the wheel, and not just on the bypass. And if you pass me while I am running, you are likely to hear my constant prayer: “Lord, get me up this hill!”
Take a look at this wonderful nugget from the book of Ephesians. See how many times the words “all” and “always” are used:
Ephesians 6:18 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”
All occasions. All kinds of prayers. Always keep on praying. All the Lord’s people.
Kinda makes you think that we should be praying all the time, always!
I love that Paul adds a personal prayer request at the end. YES, Paul! He is showing us that we should feel free to ask other people to pray for us. His prayer request for fearlessness in sharing the gospel is a request we all can make. Lord, make us FEARLESS when we talk about you! Make us FEARLESS when we come to you! Make us FEARLESS when we pray!
So pick up the phone today and phone home. God is so ready to hear from his kids. You can tell him anything you want, and he will listen. And he will always get you up that hill.
Gracious and Loving God, Thank you for giving us the gift of open dialogue with you! We want to be in communication with you, and we need to hear your voice of wisdom, comfort and truth as we navigate this day. Be with us, and help us overcome any obstacle that might come our way. AMEN
Photo by Kathy Schumacher.