A Prayer Meeting

When I was a youth, our church had prayer meetings. There was no sermon, no special guest preacher, not even a well-trained musician. But, this was not what drew us. We did not receive text message or email reminders. But, there was no need.

Praying When You Cannot Find the Words

“Prayer is a conversation, a ‘little talk with Jesus.’ Anyone can pray and everyone should pray.” While no relationship can survive without communication, we talk about prayer as if it is always simple and easy. We suggest that anyone can do it and at any time.

Prayer is a Happy Place

“Let us pray” is not a call for sad eyes and frowning faces, shuffling feet or sweaty palms. Entering the presence of God with the thought, “How am I going to explain this?” is not the aim. Prayer should not be treated as merely a confessional for the wrongs we’ve done and filled with apologies for not being God’s “little angels.”

The Eyes of Prayer

French novelist Gustave Flaubert said, “The art of writing is discovering what you believe.” Writing, then, can be an exploration of one’s faith as I have found a keyboard and screen, paper and pen to be great conversation partners. If you want an answer for why I write—and I suspect the reason for many others—it is this.

Say More

Why is it so hard for us to “have a little talk with Jesus”? Why can’t we find the words to say? No mouthful here. For some of us, it can be downright awkward. Where do we begin? How do we address God? What do we say to the God who knows our thoughts before we are even introduced to them (Psalm 139:2)?

A Prayer that Teaches

Though being asked to talk to someone is not a complicated invitation, prayer is not your average conversation. Talking to God, who is well-acquainted with our thoughts before they are even introduced to us, can be intimidating (Psalm 94.11).

Believing In Prayer

Do we really believe that God hears us when we pray? If so, then why do we say the same thing over and over again? “God is great. God is good. Let us thank God for our food. Amen.” Fourteen words. Sixty-six characters shy of the 140-character limit for a tweet.

Praying Hands

These days, prayer is often seen as insignificant. We place it on our programs as a kind gesture, a pleasantry extended out of respect for our Elder God. It is a routine remark given—though not out of necessity.

A Bowed Head

“Give us, this day, our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). It is a prayer answered when we sit at a table for a meal—unless we are on a diet and have given up carbohydrates.

Arm-wrestling Prayer

After more than ten years in ordained ministry, I have found that we do more talking about prayer than actually talking to God. To be sure, we know that we should pray….

The Speed of Prayer

I have one speed: fast. If it were possible, I would go faster. As a workaholic (the first step is admission), it is hard for me to feel a sense a meaning without being busy.

The Tale of Two Prayers

My friend was dying. When we met, she told me that she had cancer. Though, right now, I can’t recall why that was a part of our first conversation.

Pray Before You Work

Most persons would agree that we are busier than ever. We work from home, participate in a conference call while in the car, and think about work at the dinner table. Calendars are crammed to capacity so now we borrow from Sunday to make the weekends meet.

Praying in the Shadow of Death

The Internet has been good for us in many ways. But, I feel that a warning should be issued at this point….If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, please stop using the Internet and consult a real person in real life.

The Big-Mouthed God

Social media allows us to talk more than generations past cared to. Both of my parents were the product of “The Silent Generation” and I grew up with the understanding that children and adults did not talk to each other.

Keep in Touch

Though our primary means of communicating is in our hands, we don’t have time to talk right now. Sending a text message is complicated because it opens us up to a potentially ongoing conversation.

Journey Prayers

I carry a stack of 3×5 cards, held together with a rubber band. On them are words that I have collected, prized words that I say to myself most days.

Prayer Watching

“Watch over each other in prayer.” These words are found in many covenants read by members of Baptist churches. Not to be confused with a creed, it is a community promise.

The Prayer Left Unsaid

“Lord, You know.” I was on the expressway one evening after work and found myself repeating these words in between long tears and deep sighs. They are not new or unfamiliar, as I had been introduced to them long before now.

Praying for a Sign

Have you seen Jesus? So often we are looking for a sign that our prayer was answered, that our request was satisfied. We want it in an instant and to our specifications. And if we are honest, we want it to be on a 70-inch flat screen.

Praying Unbelief

So, I hate to begin with bad news but Jesus knows that we don’t always believe. I don’t know if Jesus uses measuring spoons or cups but he knows the quantity of our faith. Maybe he eyeballs it.

Praying in the Dark

More often than not, we talk to God with the lights on. This is not to suggest that prayer is scary, that there are monsters under the pews or in our prayer closets.

Praying Scared

Usually when we think of persons who pray, we imagine great women and men of faith. Cue the climactic music. They sound like an elite group of believers and are known to some as “prayer warriors.”

Praying Hard

Praying is difficult but it is even more so trying when you don’t want to talk, when the words are stuck in your throat and it hurts to talk. And you know that the only way to make the pain go away is to let it out, to get it out.

Pray-Her: Let Us Pray

Let us pray. The words are familiar to us but the practice of conversing with the Divine is still unsettling, unrealistic, and even unusual for many believers. Like the children of Israel, we would rather someone pray for us.