Friday, October 1, 2010


For the first two decades of my life, prayer was not important to me. When I was young and we prayed in church, I would go through the motions like everyone else. My eyes would be closed, my head would be bowed, and I would attempt not to fidget too much. If the pastor was leading us in prayer, I might even mentally repeat his words in my head, but rarely did I actually pray. Usually, I was bored and just wanted the service to be over soon.

Sporadically, however, I might break the pattern and ask God for material possessions, like a new set of Legos or whatever other toy I had recently been begging for. Nothing I ever prayed for then was serious. Prayer also was never scheduled for me. I had many friends who prayed with their families before bed every not, but this was not a tradition my family followed. Nor did we pray before meals, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Prayer belonged solely to the realm of church.

When I was slightly older, and the teachings of my church began to have more of an impression on my young mind, I was conflicted about prayer. On one hand, I knew I was supposed to pray to God. Good Christians prayed to God all the time, right? If you did not pray to God, how would you prove you were a Christian and, therefore, get into heaven? Yet, I absolutely loathed it. God scared me. Why would I want to pray to Him? At the time, I was convinced God hated me. Why would He listen to my prayers if I was such a bad person? Time and time again I would try to conquer my fear. I thought if I prayed more and promised God I loved Him, he wouldn't hurt me. But in my heart I knew those promises weren't true, and even worse, I knew that God knew they weren't true.

Once I was able to cease attending church, my weak attempts at prayer stopped too. I felt no desire for God or communication with Him. Actually, I desperately yearned not to believe in Him. 

Recently, however, prayer has become absolutely vital to my life. Universalism brought about a radically new view of God and a great longing to communicate with Him. I began to pray daily. Usually, my prayers take place at night. I'm a night owl (if you couldn't tell by the timestamps on my posts) and that is when I feel the most comfortable.

For me, prayer is like a conversation with God. I actually talk to God. Putting this into words actually makes it sound kind of stupid, but I talk to God about being upset, or angry, or scared. I talk to God about the worries I have about my friends and family. I talk to God about my frustration at being sick. I even talk to God about theology. I ask for patience and strength. I ask for understanding. I ask for guidance to become a better person. Rarely do I ask for something material.

The best part though, is I do feel God listening to me. It is when I pray that I am best able to perceive the pure love of God, and it never ceases to amaze me how strong His love really is. Before, prayer bored me or scared me. Now, I can talk to God for hours and not even realize the time slipping by. Nothing in the whole world makes me feel like I do when I pray. God feels my pain with me and sharing it with Him is extraordinarily comforting. Often, I cannot even say my prayers have an end, for I drift off to sleep immersed in my connection with my Father.

It is through prayer that I am starting to understand the nature of God, as much as a human possibly could. It is the foundation of my relationship with God, it is how I most directly experience the love of God, and it has become the best part of my day and an integral part of my life.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. Thanks for sharing this. I have felt the same way about prayer (boring). I rarely "pray" anymore as in sitting down and talking with G-d at specific times. I'm more of in an attitude of prayer as often as possible.