This Is How I Talk to God
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.
Psalms 19:14 NKJV
Cru defines prayer as a way. . .
to communicate with God. That can mean thanking Him, praising Him, confessing something you’ve done wrong, or expressing a need you have. It can even mean just talking to Him as you would to a friend.
Learning how to pray is really about developing a relationship with God.
I Have Previously Defined My Method of Prayer.
What is prayer? It is variously defined as “a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God…or an earnest hope or wish.” My prayers are forthright offerings to God. Often a plea, occasionally an anguish, sometimes a praise, in the words of modern psalmist Hezekiah Walker, my passionate prayers, at times beyond words and expressed as movement or tears, flow directly from my heart…”the issues of my heart.” More often than you might imagine for a good girl like me, they are unsuitable for Sunday School.
Prepare to be aghast unless you know me well; some of my prayers are censored.
This Sunday, when our world is hurting, pandemic, wildfires, economic distress, and global destabilization, You call me to lead our congregation in the prayers of the people. I already know that this call instructs me to pray for those beset by the virus, including calling out by name one with whom I ardently disagree (and that’s being polite).
This is How I talk to God.
I got questions. Even before reviewing the words in the bulletin, I already know that my responsibility as Sunday’s intercessor in corporate prayer will call me to pray for those infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. It is what we do. As I have accepted this honor, I will be obedient to my responsibility. HOWEVER, as I do, Imma need a little extra Jesus.
Thessalonians 5:17 admonishes us to “Pray without ceasing.”
Lord, I try.
I am grateful for the guidance of my rector, John Menell, who spoke peace this week, not only to me, but to all those who claim to love and serve the Lord. He wrote,
As people of God, we are called to pray for all who are sick. We are called to pray for all who are suffering from COVID. We are called to pray for politicians with whom we agree and disagree. We are called to trust in God.
I am praying for the health of a president with whom I often disagree. I urge your prayers as well.
Lord, Imma Try.
I want nothing more than to default to my three-word prayers right now. What are three-word prayers?
Three-word prayers are my ultimate confession. Three-word prayers are the moments I concede that since God knows my heart, I can stop being politic and get right to the heart of the matter (since God is the Heart of the Matter). The ones I can share sound like this…
“I give up.”
“Lord, have mercy.”
“Help me, Jesus.”
“Really, God, REALLY?”
The moment I embraced three-word prayer was the moment I acknowledged that I could trust myself to be real with God. That I wasn’t afraid of “the ugly cry” prayers. That since God fostered my brokenness, had waited patiently through all my failed attempts at total surrender, Omniscient God could handle the total honesty that simultaneously horrified and terrified me. If God was truly Omnipotent, anything else was only a waste of my own time.
Lord, as I prepare to lead Your people in prayer, I acknowledge in all my frail, flawed humanity, that I got questions. I have suggestions. I have thoughts, not that they will impede Your Will or Plan. I declare, humbly before you, that I ain’t happy.
Having made my petition and confession before You, I will go about my day. I pledge to do my best to represent Your Grace and Mercy as I understand it, and Imma try my hardest not to cuss, either under my breath or audibly.
At least not until after worship is over.
Lord, in Your Mercy, Hear and Answer My Prayer.