Here is how I’ve come to appreciate prayer and make it a regular part of my spiritual practice.
Personal. Prayer is personal. It’s for and about you. It’s your opportunity to pour anything and everything out to God. If God is too hard to grasp just yet, pour everything and anything out to The Great Otherness. Voicing (or writing) whatever is on your mind or heart invites God to share in this with you. It’s a reminder that you are not alone in this matter.
Real. Prayer must be real to you. There is no right or wrong way to pray, no special words or formulas. Prayer is meant to be heartfelt and raw.
Answered. Prayers are answered. Answered prayer is often missed because the answer was not what you expected or with the outcome you desired. When we pray, we are usually looking for a solution. If we have the solution we want before we pray, then it’s not a matter for prayer.
Yield. Prayer is an opportunity to yield. Most of are driven to pray because something is out of our reach, understanding, or ability. True prayer is yielding our control and the outcome. Yielding allows us to be open to the answer we’re given. When we’re open we see things differently or are willing to look in the unexpected places.
Engage. Prayer engages us. It engages us with God, ourself, and others. Often we are praying for ourselves and others, asking for God’s guidance or intervention or direction or comfort. Sometimes we are asked to pray for someone we don’t know or something haven’t experienced. Prayer engages us one with another in the shared experiences of our humanity.
Relief. Prayer gives relief. I don’t know about you, but I find that relinquishing the burden, the control, and the outcome is a HUGE relief! That’s not to say it all goes away, but at least I’ve shared it with One who has the power and ability to put all the pieces together necessary for The Answer.