Prayer: Artificial Shroud of My Soul

Once again, friends, I find myself in the uncomfortable position of feeling drawn to write about a subject on which I am by no means an expert. Enter grace, both from above and hopefully from the reader haha. The topic I am referring to is prayer. I am not a “prayer warrior” by any standards. My prayer life for as long as I have considered myself to be a “Christian” has resembled the dialogue of a silent film. Save the typed interjections that are a little more than forced in many cases, there really hasn’t been any dialogue. It is something that has come up in the past, but this time I really felt a kick in the pants to pursue more faithfulness in this area. Therefore, I started reading “(Re)Understanding Prayer” by Kyle Lake…and can’t put it down (a true statement for a bibliophobe such as myself).

The first of the proverbial walls to fall in on my fragile construct of prayer had to be my definition of prayer. What on earth is prayer? Really? It is not (I feel I should capitalize and highlight all this for my own benefit) reading from a script even if designated solely for God. Prayer is the bearing of our naked and unashamed souls before our Creator and Savior. It is the recognition that only through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and His raising from the dead that we have an intercessor (John 14:6). We have His imputed righteousness through His serving as propitiation for our transgressions against God (1 John 4:9–10). We have no reason to approach the throne with timidity (Hebrews 4:16). Our God literally died in order that He could get to know us and us Him. Wow, this statement just hit me. We should speak to God the way we spoke to our parents when we were children; without a filter of any sorts. Prayer is raw, unfiltered, visceral. Prayer is an honest conversation between our Father and us, His children.

Another of my shortcomings in the area of prayer is my frequency. So, how often should I pray? Prayer should be every second of every minute of every day. If I am reading Romans 12:1 correctly, then presenting my body is a constant imperative that is continual and including of everything of my being. Prayer in light of this should be unceasing. Prayer should not be an interval of time that merely denotes how holy I am to consider myself (the longer the better), but a constant lifting of my broken heart up to the Holy of Holies.

Finally, prayer is not just a head bowed, eyes closed and hands together activity. If life is prayer, then engaging in community and our passions is also prayer. Prayer in its purest definition is engaging in whatever God has granted to bring us joy. If you’re a musician, then playing music is prayer just as much as the formal prayer at bedtime.

Now you know this wasn’t nearly as planned as I will throw in some actual last remarks here. Can we also ditch the canned phrases I know I am guilty as can be for using? God is always with everyone, so what do I really mean by “God, be with (person)”? And the word “bless” is so vague that “God, bless (so and so)” could mean any one of a million different things. What do I really want God to do for so and so? I need to just say it.

As a final benediction of sorts, Father, help me, help us, to come to you wholly and explicitly to enjoy our relationship the way You intended it to be, without shrouds or secrecy. Grant me understanding of what a life of prayer looks like practically and give me the desire to strive toward that with everything in my being. Thank you for listening to the words of this mess of a man claiming to live for You. Amen.