Were You Taught To Pray?
When I was little Mom taught me to pray “Now I lay me down to sleep…”
It was probably the first thing I memorized as a child.
As I got older, the church and my mother taught me to say the “Our Father…”
My problem with prayer came after the abuse began.
Imagine a seven-year-old kid who believes she is so bad she doesn’t deserve the beauty of God’s grace.
That was the sad reality of my life.
I couldn’t bring myself to pray for escape from the unspeakable abuse.
What I did do was talk to God.
I promised Him every day I would try to do better.
Some days, I asked Him what I was doing that was so bad I needed to suffer so much.
Every year, the new teacher welcomed me to her class.
Without fail, her next words were always “I had your brother in class a few years ago. I’m sure you’re as smart as he is.”
That’s the best welcome they could come up with?
For a kid who already feels like everyone else is better than her, it was like the kiss of death.
My mother must have said “Why can’t you be more like your brother?” a dozen times each day.
I believed what they taught me in church:
Everyone is equal in God’s eyes.
So, I talked to Him every day.
I congratulated Him on the beauty of the french magnolia tree in our yard every day in the spring.
A day didn’t go by that I didn’t talk to God.
He was the only one I knew who could keep my secrets.
I loved the music at church.
My voice mingled with the others as I sang the hymns with the congregation.
Eventually, I would be the one playing the music on the organ at the front of the sanctuary.
One of my favorite songs was In The Garden. What more proof did I need to know God listened when I talked to Him?
I Talked to God Constantly, But I Couldn’t Pray
I know it sounds ridiculous, but even as I grew up, I couldn’t pray for myself.
A day didn’t pass that I didn’t talk to God. I repeated the prayers at church and recited the “Our Father…” when things became unbearable, but I couldn’t ask God to heal me or make my life better.
That didn’t stop me from talking to Him.
I remember how terrified I was to merge onto 35W in rush hour traffic in the Twin Cities after the car wreck
My panic attacks were vicious
I didn’t pray for the traffic to ease up as I entered the freeway.
But, I consistently thanked God each time my car was next in line and the traffic suddenly cleared for nearly twenty car lengths so I could enter without fear. This happened each and every time I came to the stoplight on the entrance ramp.
Gratitude and Prayer
You might say I thanked God a gazillion times a day.
My childhood may have been ripped away, but everywhere I go I still see the tiny miracles in life. In that way, I will forever remain a child.
I thank God for the flowers and the fields.
Daily, I praise Him for the bounty of our lives
The beauty that surrounds me everywhere I go is astounding, and I share my excitement with Him.
You can simply tell God all the things you would want him to know before you die. You don’t need a bunch of fancy words to pray. He knows every thought.
You Don’t Need to Pray For God to Hear You!
My God is a loving God.
He has always listened to my words.
The miracles He has allowed me to witness will forever fill my heart with joy.
In the end, I didn’t need to learn to pray for myself.
He knew every joy and every terror I experienced in life.
My God delivered the answers to the unspoken prayers with love and grace.
What it took me a lifetime to figure out was that He acknowledged each and every word I spoke or thought to Him.
You don’t need to use lofty words.
He will hear your innermost thoughts and wishes.
In the end, He doesn’t care what words you use.
He simply wants to hear from you.
Your gratitude for all the blessings in your life will become the foundation of your own conversations.
That’s where you need to begin.
Talk to Him.
Billy Graham offers some inspiration on how to pray.