Tuesday, June 05, 2007

What Does Prayer Mean to You?

My blog friend Julie, who as I've mentioned in the past writes a religion and spirituality column for UPI, published a very good one this week (as they always are) on prayer. It's entitled "Prayer is a Waste of Time," but as she warns her readers, be sure to actually read the entire column before jumping to conclusions based on the title alone.

After I read it, I posted the following comment on her blog -- and I'd be interested in your comments after you've read the column.

Prayer for me has evolved over the course of my life, from the praying every night for my family and friends as a child to the selfish prayers of high school (God, let me pass tomorrow's big test; God, let so-and-so say she'll go out with me), then through a phase where I didn't pray at all, to the current phase in my life where prayer to me is more of a conversation with God. For me, as you alluded in your column, many of the prayers that we say tend to lose meaning after a while because we do them from memory as a part of Sunday services or evening family time.

Not that the answer to my prayers is going to be any different, but I take my prayers to God (when I do pray) as someone who would take a request or a plea for help to a friend or family member. I see God more as someone wanting to be the friend who wants to hear you and help you rather than the friend you're bowing down to. Not the most traditional view, I'm sure, but then again my traditional views have changed as I've gotten older.


Dad said...

There have been many books written on personal prayer life, learning how to pray, following the prayer examples of saints, and on and on. I learned the prayers in the prayerbook and thought that was enough. But prayer is more than recitations - it's living IN relationship with God. In John 15:7, Jesus said, "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you." That's an IF-THEN proposition, right? Don't just run to God or Jesus when you are in trouble and you need something. "Hide me under the shadow of thy wing." (Psalm 91) God is a constant companion, a shelter. It takes discipline to live in Him - commit the big and little details of your life to God!

Oh, by the way, even though the prayers in the prayerbook have been memorized and locked away in my mind, I still get a tear in my eye and a big lump in my throat when they are recited. The same thing happens when I recall the psalms I memorized years ago.

The one thing prayer has taught me is: I may not know the answers to my problems, but I try to stay in touch with the One who does!

Dad said...

Forgot a few things:

Remember, if you aren't hearing from God, it may be that He's not hearing from you! Prayer does work! Commit the details of your life to God, believe He will answer and listen for the answer...

Don't stop praying (1 Thes. 5:17), be honest with God (Prov. 28:13), be honest with yourself (1 John 1:9)...

ipanema said...

As I age, prayer for me means that invisible link I have with God. A personal communion without boundaries.

Nowadays, I always console myself that unanswered prayers aren't meant to be.

When I was young, I used to think that way - that prayer is a waste of time. Why? Because I'm so impatient, because I thought that God must give me all positive answers. Only then I realised all these are products of my unkind heart. My selfish ways.

Helen said...

When others are going through difficult times we sometimes say "the only thing we can do is pray" a little old lady in our Church pointed out that it is the 'best thing' we can do and we shouldn't belittle it, that what more effective action can we take other than taking to the one who created us our needs and the needs of others, true!

God does answer prayer but not always as we would like and it's in His time, as we are learning at the moment!

Have a great week!