Contributed by Patrick O’Neal
Muscatine Church of Christ (MCOC)
Some of you faithfully pray without ceasing. Maybe you had positive faith experiences from the beginning – you never questioned or doubted and have faithfully prayed since your youth. Others of you don’t pray at all; maybe you’re too scared, maybe you’re too angry, or maybe it’s just something you’ve never done. Then there is everyone in-between. Where do you fall? How is your prayer life?
Earlier this month I had the privilege of joining men and women across America in observing the National Day of Prayer. There were Christians from various traditions, different prayer styles, and differing theologies, but we came together as one, thoughtfully, passionately, with conviction entering a conversation with the same God. The prayers were real, the topics were relevant, and I left reflecting on both the situation and my prayer life–one that has gone through many seasons and continues to evolve:
- Memorized dinner prayers of a child
- Faith-of-my-parents prayers of an adolescent
- Middle-finger-to-the-sky prayers of an angry teen
- Rock-bottom-empty-promise prayers of a wannabe adult
- “God if there is a God” prayers of a young man
- “I’m all in – use me” prayers of one training for ministry
- “Are you sure this is where you want me to be” prayers of one in ministry
These are just the highlights. For a long time, I wasn’t a believer, and even now I’m green as a Christian and even greener as a minister. I’ve wrestled with God time and time again. I’ve praised God. I’ve thanked God. I’ve begged God. I’ve yelled at God. I’ve even cussed at God. We continue to go around and around, and that’s one of the main reasons I have become a person of faith – I can talk to God. I’ve realized that God wants to hear from me in my language, expressing my feelings and emotions as a human being. God wants to hear the ups and the downs, the good and bad, the doubts, the worries, the angers, the hurts – He wants to hear it all. And no matter how it sounds, He can handle it.
In Matthew 11:28 Jesus says, “Come to me, ALL who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” It doesn’t matter where you fall on the prayer spectrum – God wants to hear from you! How is your prayer life?
I love you, and God loves you.