As I continue growing in grace, I'm finding that every area of my life has been affected and is changing. One of those areas is prayer. Bino posted a blog entitled Rethinking ‘Prayer’ which has been very thought provoking. Originally, I intended to add a comment to his blog but since it kept getting longer and longer, I decided to do a blog and share some additional thoughts.
Prayer is one of the areas in my life where I still struggle as I seek to find the new thing that Father is bringing me into and I still, at times, operate in some of the formulas and rote prayers that Bino mentioned. This seems to be especially true in group prayers so right now I don't pray much with anyone else since I'm trying to unlearn the old so I can begin to experience the new.
Darin Hufford recently posted a blog about prayer on his website and at the end of it he commented, “Find Him in your own way.” That wasn't the main point of his blog but that's what stuck out to me so I emailed him and asked him about what I called my not praying type of prayers.
This is how I described it to him: "By nature, I tend to be a thinker. I think a lot and that's how I process things but I don't normally do it in conversation with God. It's mostly me thinking and, at times, I'll speak to him in my thoughts. I feel as though I should be speaking to him more instead of just thinking. I also feel that I should be speaking to him out loud. I’ve tried but normally it just doesn't seem to flow that way. It doesn’t always seem natural.
While I’ve been thinking things through, I’ve had some wonderful solutions and revelations come to my mind that I’m firmly convinced are from God. I assume that if Father can direct my thoughts when I ask him a question then he can direct my thoughts when I'm in thinking mode.
However, I still feel guilty about not praying more in the traditional manner. Am I wrong in the way I do it? Should I force myself to do more conversation even when it doesn’t feel right? I suppose if I did it long enough, it would seem more natural."
Darin was very gracious and encouraging. Steve McVey has said that Father speaks to us through our thoughts and Darin confirmed this. Now, I'm not saying that I never speak to Him because I do speak directly to him throughout the course of my day but most of it is through my thoughts.
I believe prayer is basically communication and I think the way we pray can change over time as our relationship grows. Also, I don't believe any one method is right for everyone. I do believe it's an individual thing because we are all unique. Religious prayers lead to regimentation and, as I said in A beautiful tapestry, they tend to produce little clones who all pray alike.
I'm really coming to believe that Darin's counsel to find God in our own way is the path to freedom and growth in this grace walk.