pray

“Okay, so who wants to pray?”

Most of us have heard this in a group…and have sat in the awkward pause as literally no one wants to pray out loud, so the leader of the group takes one for the team and offers up the words.

I confess, I hate praying out loud. When I first became a believer, everyone was so eloquent when they prayed out loud and I couldn’t help but compare my naïve, newbie stuttering to their polished ‘dear, Lords’ and ‘in the name of Jesus.’ I still get caught in my head, and my inner dialogue turns into how my words are wrong and I won’t be able to sound like I know what I am doing.

Is it our humanness and insecurities that make us feel like we are not able to pray well enough to actually pray out loud? Why do we get caught in this loop?

It is not a loop God wants us stuck in. God receives any and ALL words that are offered to him in prayer. There is a song that I have been sitting with since November:

There is a sound I love to hear
It’s the sound of the Savior’s robe
As He walks into the room where people pray
Where we hear praises He hears faith

Awake my soul and sing
Sing His praise aloud
Sing His praise aloud

There is a sound that changes things
The sound of His people on their knees
Oh wake up you slumbering
It’s time to worship Him

And when He moves
And when we pray
Where stood a wall now stands a way
Where every promise is amen
And when He moves
Make no mistake
The bowels of hell begin to shake
All hail the Lord all hail the King

[‘Awake My Soul,’ by Hillsong]

One of my favorite parts of this song, is the very beginning when it says, ‘As He walks into the room where people pray, where we hear praises, He hears faith.’ This flips the narrative for me from what I hear to what God hears as we pray. I don’t think we consider enough how God receives our prayers.

And no, I do not think it is like that scene in Bruce Almighty when he is answering prayers as emails…though that would be so much easier for all of us.

For me, to pray is to enter into Oneness with God, to have a conversation, to acknowledge that we are his and he loves his creation unconditionally. There is no judgment from God over my words, so why should I get caught up in how those who happen to hear it judge whatever comes out of my mouth in prayer. Honestly, I’m not even convinced God hears prayers as words. I think there is more chance that God hears prayers as emotions and non-verbal guttural noises. We are laid bare in our conversations with God, and sometimes from me, I am thankful he loves me through my impassioned rants and colorful language I can use while conversing with him.

I would never sustain a true friendship without talking with my friend. And I care too much about my friendship with God to stay quiet.

One of the things I love about Paul is how he usually started his letters in saying how he was praying for the community he was writing to. So tonight…I pray this over you, dear friend:

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.’ [Philippians 1:3-6, NIV]

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