190419_hwreligion_cheryl

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Rev. Cheryl Mishler

“Praying for you.” We read this type of comment all the time on social media or see a set of praying hands or something similar. We read people’s comments, “prayers to you” or “sending prayers to you”? We say, “I will be praying for you.” But…do we? Is this just “lip service”, a way to say, “I care?” or” best wishes”? That is not “prayer.”

When my now 18-year-old great nephew, Austin, was little he used to clap his little hands after he prayed. Once at children’s church, he was asked why he clapped after he prayed. In his honest, child-like faith, he simply said, “ ’Cuz it makes God happy when I talk to Him!” That’s what prayer is. Talking to God.

When we tell someone we will pray for them, are we lying to them? Are we lying to God? It bothers me when I read someone’s comment that says, “Prayers to your family or sending you prayers.” Prayers are to God. We must correct this and state, “Prayers for your family”, and then we must pray…to God, otherwise, we are lying to those to whom we speak. We are also lying to God in a sense…I wonder how many times He may ask me where my prayers were for those whom I said I would be praying? How could I possibly ever explain that?

I believe prayer is a deeply, humbling gift to us; we, mere human beings might speak to the Almighty God, on our own behalf or on the behalf of another person. But prayer is not merely always asking, it should be simply communicating with God; telling Him how much we love Him, appreciate Him. Take notice of the splendor He has created, and mention that to Him. He longs to hear from us, just as we as human parents long to hear from our children, even fact, even more so. Someone once told me they prayed but they didn’t really stop and take time, they just did it when they were driving, etc. I think it is wonderful to pray at any time and place, but what does that say about where we are putting God in our lives? Too busy to offer a few moments just to Him?

When the Disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He said they (and we) should pray like this: “Our Father, Who art in Heaven. Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread. And forgive us our debts (trespasses) as we forgive our debtors (those who trespass against us). And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine in the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever.” Amen. We do not have to say these exact words, in fact many denominations no longer do that, and I wonder if that (and also the fact that we get very used to saying them) has caused to forget “how” to pray. It is vital we look at Jesus instructions and pray in the manner in which He has said. After all, who knows better how to speak to The Father, than The Son? We refer to this passage as “The Lord’s Prayer” and it can be found in Matthew 6: 9-13 and Luke 11: 2-4. Take time and look at Jesus’ Words and then consider your own prayers. God is not the “genie in the lamp” who will grant your wishes. He is Holy, Almighty, All Loving, Merciful, Righteous, Just. We pray that His Will be done, because His Will is always perfect, always just, even though we may not recognize it at the moment.

Prayer is personal. It is between you and God. Make certain you are using the word, “prayer” correctly and that indeed, you do pray for those you say you will. That as well, is between you and God. After all, in the profound words of a little boy, “It makes God happy when you talk to Him.”

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