Prayer: A Journey

Prayer: A Journey

We’ve all had different experiences with prayer and how we were raised and taught will have a lot of impact on how we pray now. For me, I grew up in the Catholic Church and primarily remember spending a lot of my CCD classes having prayers to memorize. There were different prayers for the sacraments, and the rosary, and mass and honestly I felt a little bad because I wasn’t great at memorizing all the prayers word for word and always mixed up some of the Hail Holy Queen no matter how many times I did the rosary. For me scripted prayers become part of the motions, I didn’t think while praying, but I did say prayers out of obedience.

Then as I began to attend an evangelical church I had to learn different ways of prayer. But its was a little overwhelming and now I felt stressed over just making up a prayer and if you expected me to pray our loud? Ya right. I didn’t need people judging me on my rambling prayers when I didn’t know what I was doing.

Eventually I got more comfortable with praying out loud and unscripted, but it took several years to feel like I could freely pray out loud in a group and I still often feel like people are rating my prayers. I continually have to remind myself that I’m praying to God and not to people. I began to practice praying through scriptures, mediation, worship, petition, intercession and being still with God in my own personal time. It was honestly pretty hard to learn how to just talk with God instead of feeling like I could just pray a script and mark it off. Although I quickly came to have a very negative view of scripted prayer, I associated it with going through the motions and not having a direct line of communication to God, instead having to rely instead of intercession of a priest, Mary, or the Saints and I loved the freedom to pray how I wanted and when I wanted directly to God.

Ironically, I talk with people now who grew up with more of a protestant background and they thoroughly enjoy liturgies and written prayers. I think we just have a tendency to associate what we didn’t understand before we fully turned our lives over to Christ and we attach negative connotations to those experiences and then turn towards the opposite experience and say that’s the better way and throw everything else out from our past.

Is there wrong theology in your past? Probably, and you can leave that behind. But we don’t need to discount valid beliefs or practices because we misapplied them or someone else abused them. We are the sum of our past experiences, and we can have positive and negative experience with prayer – but what really matters is what Scripture says about prayer. The truths of Scripture can break down and past experiences we have and replace them with God honoring truths as we turn from our old selves and towards being a new creation in Christ.

With prayer, we need to focus on our posture, obedience, and scriptural truth. I grew up not understanding prayer and when I gave my life to Christ I felt like I had to figure out what prayer even mean, is it a check list, is it worship, is it thanksgiving, how do I do it right? I have the personality where I hate to fail, so I needed to know the correct way to pray, what was the formula to the perfect prayer? Turns out there isn’t one and that’s what makes it beautiful and freeing. So, check out my next video to find out more on what the Bible teaches on prayer.

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