So easily we lose the childlike simplicity of prayer; a child speaking to his/her father. We start to think more about the people around us that we can see than the God above whom we cannot. We pile up stock phrases or mumble our way to an amen as we prematurely reach for our fork. Even when we are trying it can be hard.
One night at the supper table our kids were taking turns praying before we started the meal. Moments earlier our second youngest daughter had been kicking and screaming because she didn’t get to sit beside her sister. Consequently, she didn’t feel like praying so I attempted to convince her that God still wanted to hear from her even if she was angry. Through sniffles and snobs she prayed: “Father Heaven, I’m sad. Amen.”
The essence of prayer is communication with God and that was what my daughter was doing; telling God how she felt. A significant portion of the Psalms do the same thing – the author pours out his heart and bares his soul to a God who listens. Consider the following from the pen of king David:
I am weary from my groaning;
with my tears I dampen my bed
and drench my couch every night.
What is David doing in these lines? He’s letting God know how he feels. David is doing what we all do each and every day: communicating.
Prayer, when understood as communication with God, is a simple act, yet it becomes complicated by at least two factors. First, we cannot see the One to whom we are speaking.