My earliest memories of prayer are of praying at the side of my bed with my mother and sister. I was fortunate that my mother had a very strong faith and taught us to pray at a very early age. Mind you, it was not easy to express my feelings to God. What helped me most was when my mother said I should just think about talking to God as a friend and speak freely as if I was talking to my best friend. As my own faith matured, prayer changed and has continued to change throughout my life.
Living Faith (section 8.1.4), a contemporary statement of faith by the Presbyterian Church in Canada says this –
Life in Christ involves prayer,
the seeking of God’s will and blessing
on all of life.
Prayer is openness to the presence of God.
In words, or the absence of words,
prayer is the focusing of our lives toward God.
I have found in the last few years being still in the presence of God has brought great peace to my life and faith. I learned to meditate from friends in an ecumenical group and this has been a wonderful extension to prayer for me.
We all pray in different ways and it does not matter how insignificant or childish our prayers are. Many of us find it difficult to pray in front of others – feeling we don’t use the correct theological language. I don’t think God cares how we pray as long as we are directing our lives toward God.
Maria Stam’s poem “A Path of Faith” sums up prayer for me –
In times of joy,
We glorify the Lord of life.
In times of success,
We thank God for answering our prayers.
In times of uneasiness,
We place our trust in God.
In times of doubts,
We search for truth in God’s words.
In times of confusion,
We ask the Holy Spirit for guidance.
In times of loneliness,
We turn to the heart of Jesus.
In times of sorrow,
We are comforted by God’s embracing love.
In times of strength in faith,
We thank the Lord for the gift of grace.
WICC Board Member – Appointed by the Presbyterian Church in Canada