Prayer is hard for me. Whether it's praying with my wife or praying for someone's healing--I don't know how to explain it--there is an invisible distrust in the whole transaction. I'm just being honest. Out of all the spiritual disciplines prayer tops the list of "most neglected".
"You should have a prayer closet."
"Prayer isn't about saying words, it's a lifestyle."
"Prayer shouldn't be a public performance."
"Try journaling your prayers."
"Close your eyes when you pray to avoid distraction."
"Pray out loud when you're in your car."
"Just talk to God like you talk to your friend."
"Pray Scripture back to God."
"Worship is like singing prayers to God."
"The best prayer is listening prayer...be silent."
"Prayer is not about asking for things, it's about connecting with God."
"Use the Lord's Prayer as a model for how to pray."
"God answers prayer by giving you himself."
"Talk to God with expectancy, not expectations."
"Be completely real with God...He can handle it."
"If you are having trouble with falling asleep at bedtime, just pray."
"The family that prays together stays together."
"You can tell how much you believe in God by how much you pray."
"Prayer isn't about a set time, it's supposed to be ceaseless."
"The Bible is God talking to us...Prayer is us talking to God."
"Don't worry about grammatical correctness...God knows your heart."
"When you don't know what to say to God, the Spirit groans what can't be put into words ."
"No matter what you say when you pray, Jesus intercedes and interprets your prayer to God."
"David sought God in the morning, so that is when you should pray."
"P.U.S.H. - Pray Until Something Happens."
"Jesus didn't teach the disciples what to pray, he taught them how to pray."
"No prayer, No presence. No presence, No power. No power, No passion. No passion, No point."
And on and on it goes. Prayer can seem as otherworldly as Bigfoot or UFO's. Like talking to an imaginary friend while playing pretend behind closed doors in your bedroom with your stuffed animals. Sometimes I'll be praying and just catch myself completely detached from my words...like I'm watching myself from the back corner of the room. I'm talking out loud, but I'm so far from my actual words. Like Jesus said to the Pharisees..."They honor my with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." Wow! I get that all too well. It happens to me when I'm singing sometimes as well...like catching myself in a lie or something. Like I'm telling a fish story or something. It's disconcerting, but on the other hand, it really keeps me honest.
And I guess that's why I wanted to share this, to stay honest with myself, people and God about this matter of prayer. There is so much floating around out there surrounding this subject that it would really kill me if I didn't let people know how difficult prayer is for me contributing to the mass confusion and masked conclusions. Instead of being a spiritual leader, I become a spiritual liar.
So, no more unspoken prayer requests. (remember those in prayer meetings in the 80's?)
I have a spoken prayer request: "Could you pray for me that I will learn how to pray?'