Why do we make prayer so complicated?

prayer is simpleShe is only 9 years old but when she prayed for someone their bad back got better. She had been to a Scripture Union camp called The Wild One during which the children had the opportunity to pray for each other. We had a discussion at our church leadership team about how amazing and encouraging this was and how it would be great to see it happening in ordinary life.

A few days later I was praying for someone who had a bad back and my daughter was nearby so I called her over and asked her if she would like to pray as well. She put her hand on my friends back and we prayed a really complicated prayer that went something like ‘God please make his back better’. My friend began to stretch and say ‘It worked’. He had been in such pain when he arrived and the difference in the look on his face and in his mobility was amazing. God is good!!!

I decided to be a bit braver in our Sunday service a few days later and so I told this story and then invited the children to come and join me in praying for someone. My two daughters joined me (perhaps they felt sorry for their poor old dad standing at the front by himself?) whilst the rest decided to watch. A lady asked for prayer as she was experiencing some pain. This time I managed to get one of the girls to pray out loud and then we asked her how she was. She said it was a bit better and so I mentioned that Jesus had to pray twice for the blind man before he was healed and said we would try again. I can’t remember if it was me or my other daughter who prayed out loud but after our second prayer she said she felt significantly better. God is good!!!

I was really encouraged that my girls used simple words in their prayers. They didn’t try to persuade God, they just asked him in ordinary language and believed that he could. If we think that we have to be eloquent enough or persuasive enough to make God respond then what does that say about who God is?

The story gets better. A few days later my wife was upset and my daughter asked her if she was okay and gave her a hug. She then walked away several paces on her way to whatever was in her head to do next (it probably involved glitter and glue), but then she said ‘wait’ to herself and she then went back and prayed for my wife. This is what prayer is, it should be so natural and something we do and share often with each other. When someone takes the time to show care and concern by praying with you for God to intervene in your situation it is really special. God is good!!!

When my daughter prays for people (it doesn’t happen very often at the moment) she puts her hands on them. This is something that happened in the New Testament and is a way of identifying with a person, a way of saying that we are in this together. This is especially helpful for children who may find it easier to pray through an action rather than wusing ords out loud.

When did prayer get so complicated? When did prayer become something for adults only? When did prayer become something you need to be eloquent to do? My daughter didn’t understand why my wife was sad, she had no idea what was going on but she could still ask God to change things. We need to get back to seeing prayer as an ordinary, simple and everyday part of our lives.

I met someone today who had hurt their leg and so full of faith I prayed for them. I then asked them how they were and they said it felt the same (they were actually really polite about it). So I prayed again and guess what? Yup, nothing at all. I was a little surprised because I genuinely though God was going to heal him instantly. This was a reminder that God doesn’t always heal but I’m still going to keep on asking him anyway. Even though God didn’t do what I asked, he is still good!!!

If you struggle to pray out loud but would like to then try this. Ask God to do something in the same way you would ask anyone else. Something like ‘God we would really like you to …’ should do the trick. God knows what we are thinking, so we don’t even have to explain ourselves really well. Lets make prayer simple again.

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About honestaboutmyfaith

Hi, my name is Graeme and I’m married to a very patient wife. We have 4 children, 2 rabbits, a terrapin (and not a lot of peace and quiet!). I’m a Baptist Minister who is especially interested in making Church accessible to people who have no church background and also in how we disciple people in order to equip them to live out their faith in the 21st Century. I am also a member of the Eastern Baptist Association's Council with responsibility for Mission Strategy.
This entry was posted in Faith, God is with us, Life experiences, Prayer, Relationship with God and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Why do we make prayer so complicated?

  1. grammatteus says:

    When I was recovering in hospital from my brain haemorrhage, an older brother was in the bed next to me. He was a brethren ministry worker from the far south of Ireland, and he shared many wonderful stories about his experiences. He said that young men in their churches are marked out for ministry if they are heard to use ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ when addressing God in prayer, though he laughed at how ridiculous this was.

    Later, doing my Masters in Linguistics, we discovered in the History of English that ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ were once the singular forms of you and were used only by family and friends; it was the ‘familiar’ form just as it is in French to this day. Tyndale, when doing his translations of the scriptures, deliberately used the familiar form for addressing God since he saw from his study that God is indeed close to us and should be addressed familiarly! Oh the irony that today people think it’s formal!

    Like

    • The problem is that in our society that it is formal because words change their meaning. The truth of who God is doesn’t change but how we express it does.

      Liked by 1 person

      • grammatteus says:

        You’ve understood the basic principle of language change! This is my main reason for accepting that the KJV was a wonderful and beautiful translation, but that it has had its day. 21st century people need to hear God’s word with relevance, just as was the very intention of the KJV! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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