Rethinking Prayer

Prayer is one of those crazy words like love that is overused and therefore undervalued in the English language. Just as I can love a chili cheese dog or love my newborn child, I can pray by reciting a mindless poem before bedtime or I can pray by pouring out my heart to the very One who made me.

When we assign the same word to mean different things, we often minimize it to mean the easiest thing. So, when my friend asks me to pray for her, I can wholeheartedly agree without committing to much other than sending a kind thought her way as I close my eyes to sleep. God be with Jane. Amen.

And I feel satisfied.

But I shouldn’t.

Prayer is a privilege, not a burden.

Prayer is daring to believe that I can touch the invisible veil that separates the terrestrial from the supernatural and move it – even if ever so slightly.

Prayer gives me access to the throne room of grace where the Almighty God, Maker of Heaven and Earth, is willing to bend His ear toward me, a simple human, formed of dust.

Prayer is the smoke of incense rising up – spiraling into the nostrils of Him who inhales all our needs and troubles and exhales life and love and blessings and grace.

Prayer is a privilege, not a burden.

Prayer raises me above the landscape of the mundane and bids instead that my soul soar high on wings like eagles.

Prayer frees me to run and not grow weary.

Prayer removes me from the whirlwind of life where I am inundated with bad news, overstimulated with information and overstressed by expectations and allows me to rest in the arms of the One who is willing and able to carry the full weight of my load.

Prayer is a privilege, not a burden.

Prayer tied together with the ribbon of faith moves things long thought static.

Prayer transforms worry into time well spent. And though it comes slowly and happens over time, ultimately I can see it: Prayer changes me.

So, the next time a friend asks me to pray, I will still agree wholeheartedly, but not because I plan to do the minimum. I’ll agree because I see prayer for what it is now, a privilege and not a burden.