What Is Prayer?
Todays sermon was on prayer and it gave me a lot to think about..in fact I am still thinking about what was shared and what it means in my life. I especially am a bit overwhelmed by the picture described when Jesus was in Gethsemane--not the familiar picture of Christ praying at the rock with light beams from heaven embracing him--but the picture of Jesus on the ground begging God to take away the pain and suffering he knew was coming. I can not even imagine the desperation that he was feeling. And that was a prayer of astonishing proportions.
Last night I read the editorial in Guideposts magazine and it talked about prayer as being conversation with God. It is that too. "Thank you God for this day." "God, give me more patience." "God, please help me."
In church today, as a community, we recited prayers together. There are those would say that they weren't really prayers but that is not true is it.? It is the way a group of people can pray together for peace, and hope, and forgiveness, and all the things all of us want to say to God. Jesus recognized this prayer when he spoke of "two or three gathered in my name."
Sometimes a prayer is a habit. Repeated without much thought like grace before a meal, or a prayer before sleep. It is still a prayer no matter how many times you have repeated it. It is when prayer has become just a natural part of your life. and that is a very good thing.
If you sit silently and meditate, maybe just on the name of God, that is prayer. If you sit quietly and just be with God, that is prayer.
Years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer and was told I was going to die, I couldn't accept it. The reality of the possibility sunk in after a few weeks of intense radiation and I was burned, with hair falling out, and sick! By myself, I went outside and yelled at God. "WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME? WHY?" And then another time, when my baby daughter Sky, only six months old, had made it to recovery after open heart surgery, I went to the chapel, and I just cried. No words. Nothing but tears streaming down my face. Are these prayers? Yes, they are.
I believe that anytime God is involved with your thought processes, anytime communication is attempted on any level with God, that is a form of prayer.
So what do I think is the best way to pray? The following says it best:
“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.”
― Mother Teresa