I was asked the other day in my book group if I had a daily spiritual practice and I had to pause to think. I had never really thought about my morning and evening prayers as a “practice” because they have become so habitual for me. And then I even wondered if what I do is considered praying. Well, at least in the conventional sense of the word.
Prayer is defined as “a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship.” I would say this definition is pretty much the one-sided standard.
But how is prayer going to help you have a relationship with God if it’s void of intimacy and conversation?
As a Catholic I’ve never been particularly fond of the religion’s exhaustive library of rote prayers. I have a soft-spot for the rosary because of it’s meditative qualities and the Litany of Humility will always help you get your head of your ass but beyond that I’m not a fan.
For me, the problem with memorized prayer is that it strips prayer of its intimacy. If prayer time is meant to be a conversation with God why would you want to read off of laminated card with archaic picture on the back?
If one of your kids came to you wanting to have a heart-to-heart conversation and then started reading off of a hallmark card wouldn’t you feel put out? Instead of connection you were given a script and they didn’t even write it.
For me, prayer is that time when I get to climb up in my Dad’s lap, snuggle my head into His chest and tell him about my day. It’s private, it’s intimate and it’s sacred. Just me and God having a chat. Me talking, Him listening….and here’s the most important part….me listening to what He has to say.
Except for teenagers, when we ask our parents for advice we expect them to share their wisdom with us, right? But like teenagers, many people are looking for validation or a straight up hand-out from God. Their prayers are about getting their wishes granted, not about spending time with the Father who loves them unconditionally.
God isn’t that genie in a bottle.
God created you. God loves you. God thinks you are the most awesome, amazing, human on the planet and He wants you to know Him.
P.S. I really like where this ended so I’m going to let that thought linger. Tomorrow I will share my spiritual practice.