I was raised in a church. Every Sunday morning my dad would turn on the radio loudly and blast the “oldies” while we all got ready for church. Oftentimes it would result in him spinning me around and dancing. We would go to the early service followed by Sunday School. We’d learn about the stories of the Bible. We’d learn what was “right and wrong” and what was expected of us. With those teachings and habits, we would pray.
“Our Father, who art in Heaven…”
“Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest”
“I believe in God, the Father almighty”
“Most merciful God”
“O, the Lord is good to me”
“God is good, God is great”
“Lord, make us instruments of your peace”
Still to this day, if I eat a meal at my parents we pray before every meal.
Despite everything I know and have learned, I still struggle with the idea of “prayer”. As I have spent time in church and classes and learned about prayer, it has always been presented in this formal setting…closing your eyes, bowing your head, folding your hands…
What if I don’t want a formal prayer? What if my idea of prayer has transformed into something else?
My preferred type of prayer is less formal. It’s a conversation with God and those in the faith community. It’s me learning and sharing. It’s me asking questions and trying to understand new ideas. It’s me valuing what others believe. It’s me sitting down and writing a blog post or journaling. It’s me noticing the small things that could be coincidences, but believe they are something more.
My prayers don’t often come at the “right” times or start by a greeting of God. My prayers don’t often end in “Amen”. My prayers come as I see a friend in need or as I take a walk and notice the beauty around me. My prayers come as I’m trying to remember to be thankful while cleaning the toilets or some other chore. My prayers come when I read the messages from friends and am not close enough to give them a hug when they need one. My prayers come as I watch my children grow and learn to be their own people.
I’m still figuring out my version of what I want and what I believe. I’m a work in progress…learning along the way.