Prayer is exciting. Prayer is tough (at least for me). But as I mentioned in yesterday's post, honesty with God matter more than getting it right when we pray. We can bring our doubts, fears, shame, guilt, anger, sorrow, joy–we can bring our real selves–to God in prayer.
Penny and William routinely teach me about bringing myself to God in prayer. I've share these stories before, so I won't recap them in full, but Penny has taught me about sharing everything in prayer, and both kids have taught me that prayer should include laughter and not just requests and confessions and serious stuff. Jesus taught his followers to pray like children. We think of the Lord's Prayer as beginning with the words, "Our Father," and at least for me that greeting reminds me of church and pews and kneeling. But it was a radical statement when Jesus made it, because the word he used, the word he invites us to use, is "Abba," which can be translated, "Daddy." Yes, in prayer we come before the King of all Creation, the Lord of Lords, the Everlasting God. We also come into the presence of our Daddy, who is willing to listen to the most mundane details of our day and share our hopes and fears and rejoice when we rejoice and mourn when we mourn.
We are also invited to pray like the Psalmists. And, although the Psalms might also seem like the Lord's Prayer–ancient examples of piety–they are actually further invitations to bring our thoughts and our emotions before God. Of course there are Psalms of praise, with singing and shouting and dancing. But there are also Psalms of desperation (see Psalm 63, "my whole being longs for you in a dry and weary land where there is no water), Psalms of despair (Psalm 88 concludes, "the darkness is my closest friend"), and Psalms of violent anger (see Psalm 137, where the Psalmists asks God to "dash their infant's heads against the rocks"). Read those Psalms and translate them into modern day language as a reminder that there's nothing we need to hold back when we pray.
Do you bring your curses, your fears, your laughter, your giddy excitement to God? Why or why not?
P.S. Check back tomorrow morning for a final post on prayer...