“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” ~ Matthew 6: 7-8
Having spent my first twenty years as a Mormon and the next twenty years as an agnostic, as I approach my fiftieth birthday I still consider myself to be a relatively new Christian. Picture a duckling paddling around theological waters.
As a result, I’ve struggled with my prayers. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have mastered, “God, get me through this.” I whip that Beauty out several times a week. I’m referring to my daily, (turn the noise off, clear my mind, and connect with God) prayer time.
My first pastor recommended reading a chapter of scripture before each daily prayer in order to center myself. It took 2.5 years, but I read the entire Bible that way. It worked, with the exception of Numbers, which could bore an accountant.
The technique still works, helping me obtain the right frame of mind to pray. My problem became editing. I was constantly adding family members, friends, and causes to pray for. My prayers became recitals of a wish list, as if I was a good little boy sitting on Santa’s lap.
I didn't want my prayers to be long lists of requests, but I didn't know who, or what, to leave out, without feeling guilty. Then I read Matthew 6. Jesus explained that our Father knows what we need when we pray.
This idea took a great deal of proverbial weight from my shoulders. I no longer feel like I need to make a list and mention each, and every, person I know, whose going through something. I can ask for a blessing for the people in my life, and God knows who they are.
Besides said request, and a request for forgiveness (which is always badly needed) the rest of the prayer can be spent thanking, and praising, the Lord. This kind of daily prayer feels more comfortable to me.
My drawing of The Holy Trinity & 2 Angels
next to my typical daily prayer