5 Things to Remember While Praying
I have a little over 800 Scrabble tiles that I acquired a few years ago...
They don't get pulled out too often, but when they do, you know it's going to be a good time!
I love playing games like Extreme Bananagrams, challenging 30 or more people to this game at a time. The fewer people you have, the longer and more difficult the game becomes... not unlike other areas of life, e.g., chores, moving a fridge, recording a rock song...
But one of my favorite things to do with these tiles is to use them with the Youth group as a "meditation station". We do these kinds of "stations" usually once a month to get Youth to find their own voice in the context of prayer. When we think about prayer, we too often picture a pastor using words that are much too big and way too fancy and speaking for far too long. There is no reason for this, and God doesn't expect us to pray this way. So here are some things that we should remember if we decide to pray:
1. God doesn't only speak in "Thee"s and "Thou"s. King James did. Just because you've read the Bible and it's all written weird and undecipherable doesn't mean you have to try to translate your words to "God speak". The Bible you might be thinking of is written that way because it was translated waay back in the early 1600's when they really just talked that way. So maybe... just maybe...
2. You can pray to God the way you talk to your friends. Just talk... leave off all the "Almighty Gracious Father"s and "Holy Lord"s, unless you feel totally comfortable saying those things. Mostly God just wants to hear from you, in whatever state you're in, in whatever language you feel like speaking... silence works too.
3. Longer is usually worse. Prayer is as much for you as it is for God. So if you're praying so long that you lose track of what you're saying, it doesn't do you any good. Prayer is for reflection. Prayer is for meditation. All these weird church words basically comes down to prayer being about you being able to process the things that are weighing on you. If you're finding yourself praying for an hour about everything that comes to mind, then take breaks. Pray smaller prayers. Not for God's sake. He hears everything, even the things you don't say. But for your own sake. Give yourself that time to process. And that time to listen.
4. Listen. Sometimes we spend so much time speaking that our thoughts and concerns never get a chance to be resolved. Silence gives us the time we need to process the things that have been said. And whether you believe this is God speaking to you, or just your own mind fixing problems, it is an extremely helpful practice.
5. Do something. I don't know about you... but when I am sitting quietly, I tend to get just a little drowsy. It's okay to do something that helps to illustrate what you're thinking. Play with some clay, draw a picture, untangle some yarn, make a crossword with some Scrabble pieces (or one of my favorites... play the piano in the dark). You don't have to do any of this every time, but it's good to occasionally mix things up!
So say a prayer today, however you'd like. God is a pretty good translator.
Let's pray together.