prayer pt 2
I heard several strange things growing up in church. I remember not understanding all of them. Some I figured out on my own and just hoped I came to the right conclusion. One thing I thought was strange was that whenever someone prayed, they said things I never heard them say while not praying. One time a guy and I were talking about Notre Dame football while Lou Holtz was the head coach at Notre Dame. The guy was not a fan of Coach Holtz and called Lou any and every kind of name you can imagine. A few minutes later, he got up to pray in our church service and randomly said words like sanctify us, purify our country, hedges of protection, bless her heart, traveling mercies and everyone else’s unspoken requests. He also prayed “Bless Pastor “Bill”. May he give us a meaty sermon today.”
Every week, I heard the phrase “Give us a meaty sermon today.” My mouth would salvate. I literally expected a steak (steak tacos would have been heaven on earth)! Each week, I left disappointed. In my opinion, that prayer request went unanswered!
I had never heard this particular guy say any of these words together. Then when I started following Jesus, the stupidest thing happened. I started praying that way. When our sons were born, I realized I was a major influence in shaping their views about God. We would pray and I started to realize that the way I was praying was irrelevant. They would pray and their prayers were so genuine, honest and simple.
Shad would pray for the cat across the street to get better. Carson would pray that a certain leader at our church wouldn’t stink and that her breath would smell like Fruit Loops instead of butt. They would ask God , “Why did our neighbor get sick?” and “God why did the Patriots win the Super Bowl?” Shad would often pray asking God why Notre Dame didn’t win football games. He would then listen urgently waiting on a response from God. Carson once found a squirrel. He named him “Squirrely”. He prayed that Squirrely would live forever. Sadly that wasn’t the case.
I was amazed how genuine, honest and simple my sons’ prayers were. God taught me something during those years. Keep your prayers genuine, honest and simple.
At one point in the Bible, Jesus was surrounded by children. He let everyone know in the setting that the kingdom of Heaven belongs to people like these children. Let’s pray like children, genuine, simple and honest.
There’s no need to lie to God and act like you’re having the best day ever when you’re really not. Be genuine, get to the point and simply be honest.
Prayer is a two-way street as well. Take some time and listen to God. I know that seems extremely strange and maybe a little wacky. God never intended for us not to listen to him though. I believe there is a reason we have two ears and one mouth. We should listen twice as much as we speak. This can be said for both our friendships and how we talk as well as how we engage our prayer life.
Photo by Christian Gertenbach on Unsplash
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