Like most parents, as my wife and I were raising our children we worried that we were not doing it the right way; that somewhere along the way one of us would say or do something that would lead them astray or would not equip them with the right stuff to be productive members of society. Wow, what righteous dreams we had for them, and for ourselves.
It didn’t take too long to realize that as long as we were talking, we were doing the right things. When there was communication going on between the four of us, our family was making progress, and everything would be alright.
Prayer is kind of like that. We have lofty goals for our prayers, and we worry that we are not accomplishing what we should with our prayers. Or, we worry that we are not equipped with the right prayers to say in every situation. We bog ourselves down with too much head-knowledge that we cannot offer prayers from the heart.
Often, we believe that there is a right way and a wrong way to pray and that we only know the wrong way; that God doesn’t listen to prayers offered in the wrong way and that God finds our prayers unworthy of attention or action. I went through a stretch thinking God was grading my prayers. Imagine how frightening that was.
Trust me when I say, there is not a wrong way to pray to your Father in heaven. Well, actually the wrong way is to NOT pray to your Father in heaven. Avoiding prayer is not prayer and it is not growing in relationship with God. When I realized that our family was talking together, exchanging ideas and thoughts with each other, and strengthening our bonds with each other, I stopped worrying about whether we were raising our children the right way. It was when there was no communication that I worried.
I imagine God feels the same way.
Prayerfully, Father Mark +