I grew up in a time of more religious conservatism than I now embrace.
That is not a criticism of my past or of anyone from that time who had a Christian influence on me. Absolutely not, I value, no, I treasure, that heritage.
Having said that, something that I would have been hesitant to do at one time, and now I embrace, is regarding the subject of prayer: reading the written prayers of others. I can remember as a young teenager it was inferred by some in my religious circle that, “Prayers were personal and should be your own words.” Meaning, they had to be your own thoughts and said by you. I no longer hold to that thought now.
Why? Over time we were told that praise and worship was acceptable in singing a song; meaning that if I didn’t write the words it was okay, as they are just words in a song. So if a song that someone else centuries ago created is acceptable, why not the written prayer of another? If a prayer written by someone else fits my thoughts, my needs, my emotions, and my requests at that time, then why can the singing of such a song written by someone else be valid, but not the prayer written by someone else?
I have used the expression “all prayed out” on occasion. If you saw the movie “Cinderella Man” (good movie - true story), you might remember the scene where Braddock’s wife asks him to say the prayer for their evening meal. He looked at her ashamed and said, “I can’t; I’m all prayed out.” What he had been experiencing in his life those past few days and weeks had led him to that place of “All prayed out.”
If you are a praying person, have you ever felt that way? The other night as I sat on our porch, shoes off, wearing a t-shirt and shorts with an ice tea in hand, it was late and I was thinking about a number of things and a number of people. I wanted to end my day with “prayer,” but the words were coming hard, and somehow they seemed to get stuck somewhere deep inside of me; they just wouldn’t come out.
I then took out a prayer a friend of ours gave me some time ago, the words were most fitting. I read them, and I think they were heard even though I had not been the writer. Sometimes we can just be “all prayed out” but still feeling a need to say something.
April 17, 2013