As I was growing up, prayer was sold to me as a chore. Something I had to do as a duty. It felt as though having a good prayer life was the thing to be worshiped, rather God. No one told me it could be a joy. No one gave me the tools to enjoy it or be effective - I was just told to do it, do it for a long time everyday and always do it in the morning. Not helpful!
From the reaction to my last post, it seems I am not alone in this. Many have sent private messages saying that they have the same problems with prayer, and thank you for saying what I said. (Anyone who doesn’t agree hasn’t commented)
It wasn’t until I moved churches when I was 17 that I realised how much more prayer could be. I went to a youth house group meeting and heard someone pray in a normal voice using normal language, as though Jesus was sitting right next to him. It sounded as natural as breathing to him. I’d never heard anything like it and it bowled me over.
That was 30 years ago. For over 20 of those years I’ve been in full time kids work and I’ve been determined to give kids a much better experience of prayer than I got - getting them excited about praying, but also facilitating kids with additional needs who find the whole traditional approach to prayer almost impossible.
If you look back through my posts you will see quite a few of the ‘object prayers’ I love to use with children, to spark an interest and an excitement in prayer
With the onset of disability in my own life, I’ve had to work through a lot when it comes to prayer. It’s given me a whole new perspective when it comes to cognitive ability and the process of prayer.
I’ve learnt that I can shout at God - but still worship.
I’ve learnt that it’s ok to say “it’s not fair” but still trust His wisdom.
I’ve learnt that He understands when I’m bone tired and soul weary and struggle to find the words to speak to Him - and yet on those days find I’ve had the best wordless conversation with Him ever.
I’ve also found out that God doesn’t mind if I sometimes read my prayers rather than relying on memory….. but more of that tomorrow!
Tomorrow I’ll be posting some short posts on things I find helpful for personal prayer - a post per suggestion. Later in the month I’ll post some things that may be useful to any age group in encouraging a habit of prayer
Be blessed - in the truest sense of the word!