I am a very lousy pray-er. My mind wanders during memorized prayers and although I attended a Catholic high school where we prayed before and after each class, over 10,000 prayers in four years, I cannot remember a word of them. In fact, I confess I only prayed sincerely right before a math test.
That is why, although I am a Christian, I do not give a single hoot about prayer in schools-if you are not sincere when you pray, it is worthless and if you are sincere when you pray, no one can stop you from praying silently.
My best friend is an awesome pray-er, mostly, I think, because she really cares and so prays fervently. I kind of used her talent, since I am a go-do kind of person and she is a pray-er. I have sat beside her, head bowed, spirit soaring on her fervent prayers and stood up with the conviction, that heck, yeah, I can go-do this!
Many books have been written and many sermons have been preached on how to pray better. I read the books and listened to the sermons and still suck as a pray-er. But I did notice that the Bible says the “effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous person is powerful.” There are several conditions here. One is that you have confessed your sins, i.e., you’re not hiding any nasty secrets. Another is that you are sincere in what you are asking, you’re not just blabbing away.
Well, that probably eliminates about 80% of the prayers prayed, mine included. I confessed this to my friend, the awesome pray-er. She laughed. “Don’t you say, “God, help me,” often? “Yes.” “Are you sincere when you say it?” “Oh, yeah.” “Well?”
Oh. So it is not that I am a complete flop as a pray-er, it is just that my prayers are extremely short and not very…poetic. Maybe I will make a book about effective prayer and on every page I’ll illustrate one of the jams I have gotten myself into and the Prayer for the Day: “God, help me!” (And in all those jams, did God help me? YES.)
I often think I should pray for peace in the world. I hate that ANY people suffer violence and oppression. I want them all to have a chance to be free and happy. But I am such a lousy pray-er, I can only consistently pray with fervency: “God, help them,” and “May the truth come out.”
It does not seem like much, I know. But how long do you think evil can survive if the truth comes out, out into the full light of day?
I’m thinking about as long as an ice chip can survive on a hot Georgia sidewalk at high noon in August.