The Prayer Fail

pray_simply

About three months after I became a Christian, I came to work one September morning and sat in front of my computer watching the Twin Towers fall on MSNBC.com. I was supposed to be on a plane that day. But, I’d recently accepted a promotion that changed my customer base and so someone else took my place. Every other manager in our Design Department was in the air at the same time that planes all over the world were possible terror targets. Except me.

As we stood in clumps throughout the office, watching what we believed to be the beginning of the next World War, we were stunned. And terrified. And all I could think to do was thank God that I wasn’t on a plane. As we clamored for what to do next, my coworkers turned to me for guidance.

I knew two things:

  1. I desperately needed to get to my small daughter.
  2. I was going to let everyone go home to gather their families as well.

“You’re the only manager here today.” A voice said behind me as I turned to see our Office Manager standing in my doorway. “I think it would really help everyone if you could get us all together and say a prayer.”

My heart literally tightened. I shrank in fear at the thought of gathering 20 or more people from my office and spitting out incomprehensible thoughts that made no sense to anyone. I didn’t know how to pray. I hadn’t been told the rules yet. I mean, I’d literally just met Jesus a few months before. I wouldn’t be ready for prayer of that magnitude for years. Decades even.

“Um. Just tell everyone to pray at their desks,” I said.

Yes, I really said that.

And I shrank from God as He asked me to stand up. A pivotal point in everyone’s life that they would remember for the rest of their lives. It was our generations “moment”. One of those times that each of us would recall with great clarity, being able to list every single detail of the day.

I let fear rob me of that opportunity to shine light into one of the darkest days in history.

As I spent time with my family that night, I couldn’t get my missed prayer off of my mind. And in my sadness and disappointment in myself, I reached out to God the way I had since I was a child. That night, I said the only prayer I knew at that time:

Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. Guide and guard me through the night. And wake me with the morning light. Amen.

But as I lay there in the dark, repeating words that had become my regular nightly routine, I realized something: prayer wasn’t meant to be complicated. And this same prayer that carried me through difficulties in my childhood, the same prayer I prayed even when I didn’t know God, was powerful.

Because prayer should be simple.

And a simple prayer gets right to the heart of God.

We make it complicated when it doesn’t need to be.

We chase this idea of the perfect relationship with God, when the perfect relationship is only a conversation away. Our expectations of His expectations can throw us so far off the path that we’re afraid to even take the first step. When in reality, all He is hoping for is a simple conversation.

And when we can’t find the words? To simply join Him in silence, allowing our hearts to pour out to Him. Because even in those moments where we can’t find the words, He still hears what we are saying. Which also means that a simple prayer said with an honest heart has just as much meaning.

A simple conversation.

I still pray this every night. At the age of 43. And, I’m not kidding. There is something about it that connects me to my Father. It’s a nightly handing over of my life to Him. Something that is powerful to a girl whose daddy rejected her. Because her Father delights in hearing it.

So, just talk to Him, sweet friend.

He’s waiting to hear from you.

 

Want to hear more stories of simple prayer and the impact they can have in your life and in your relationship with God? Stop by the blog hop with Proverbs 31 speaker, Suzie Eller.

suzie

 

Want to connect with other single moms of faith? Stop by The Christian Single Mom on Facebook.

 

3 Comments

  1. Through the grace of God, we are growing through our stumbles, Laura. Love this simple nighttime prayer. I think this common bedtime prayer takes many different forms, because yours is the third or fourth ending I’ve heard.

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