Prayer is labeled and experienced differently for each one of us. Perhaps we call it mindfulness, meditation or living in the present moment. Perhaps we beseech God for forgiveness, mercy or strength. We often sing out our praises telling God how much we adore, worship and love Him. Sometimes we recite learned prayers. Doesn’t God love variety? Especially in prayer? Is not all of nature variety? Perhaps the most intimate prayers are those in which we conduct conversation with God, listening for that still, small voice.
We can simply pour out our hearts to God. After all, He knows what is in our hearts anyway. He can take our anger. He has big shoulders. We can vent our fear, upset and frustration to God. He feels this from us anyway so why not? God wants our true, authentic selves in relationship. God wants our intimacy with Him to be genuine.
Prayer is not something we do for an hour every Sunday. Prayer is something we are. We are in prayer every time we acknowledge God in our everyday lives. God is the beauty in the dazzling color of trees, in the softness of a snowfall, in the glory of an iris. God is in our every moment of life and when we can pay attention to the small and large variety of life, giving thanks and giving God our pure joy, we are in prayer.
When we can lift up another to God’s love, compassion and understanding we are in prayer. When we can elicit laughter from a child, offer patience and assistance to an elderly person, or give food to a homeless person, we are engaged in prayer. Did not Jesus say, “That which you do for the least of these, my brethren, you do for me.” Do we visit a grieving widow, have a conversation with a prostitute, make a homeless person our friend? Do we offer up to Jesus our prayers by living them?
Each of us has prayer to offer unique to our own lives. When we can release our daily stress, mental lists of things to do and still our thoughts, we inch closer to hearing that still, small voice within. Much like tuning into a radio station, we will only hear the static of our own egos if we cannot zero in on the frequency that is God. His knowingness. That special feeling of comfort. That specific joy of a certain peace that really does pass all understanding.
Prayer is for many of us practice in quieting the mind. At no time is God far from us. Sometimes we may feel alienated from God. Or that we are alone. Often, this just means that God wants more from us. More attention. More concentration. More time.
In prayer, we hold joy and love combined, to affirm we want to live in God’s Will, be part of God’s plan and have God present in our lives.
Lynette Fazio is a mother, grandmother, and regular attender of Camas Friends Church. She enjoys writing, playing piano, and enjoys sitting in silence next to the Washougal River with a warm cup of coffee.