“Seek a relationship when you pray, not answers. You won’t always find answers, but you will always find Jesus.” ~ Father Mike Schmitz
Prayer is the best thing for a Christian. Prayer can be uplifting. Prayer can bring peace. Prayer can give a sense of being centered. On the other hand, prayer can be distracting. Prayer can be a stumbling block. Prayer can be painful.
How can there be two radical differences to prayer. I would say that prayer, when done right, will bring all the positive attributes with it. Prayer, when done wrong, will bring the negative. “But how can prayer be done right or wrong?” you might ask. “Isn’t prayer just talking with God?”
Yes, it is. Prayer is talking with God. A better phrase might be a conversation with God. When speaking with someone or carrying on a conversation, we allow for both give and take. That give and take gives us an opportunity to converse with God, to ask for help, to thank Him for what He has done for us, and the like. It also gives God a chance to speak with us as we become silent and focus on listening. That is the “right” way to pray.
Prayer done “wrong” is when we do not see prayer as talking with God but rather talking at God. We give God a list of our demands. We complain to God. We shout, cajole, demand, and do everything but was it absolutely necessary: give Him a chance to respond.
So when we go to the Lord with requests that border on demands, when we go to the Lord demanding answers, when we go to the Lord open-mouthed but with closed ears and closed hearts, we are doing God a great disservice. We are literally wasting our time because we will never be able to hear Him when He responds.
And respond He does. All the time. Sometimes, the response is a quick and simple “no”. Other times, the response might be a lengthy conversation with our soul. But in order to hear any of His answers, we have to be primed to listen. So today, don’t waste your time with prayer done the wrong way. Instead, pray in order to deepen your relationship with God. The difference in attitude will take you a long way!
FAITH ACTION: When you pray today, take the time to listen as well as to speak.