When was the last time you talked to God, I mean really talked to him? I’m not talking about praying before a meal, or going to church, or talking about him, or listening to The Fish.
When was the last time you had a conversation with Him, the kind you’d have with your best friend
When it comes to talking to God, a real, honest conversation, I have to admit it’s been awhile. And when it’s been awhile, when my pray-er is rusty, and my heart is distracted, I have a hard time knowing how to begin again.
Prayer is a weird thing. Have you ever thought that? It’s easy to feel dumb as you do it, talking to your bedroom ceiling and hoping God is listening.
Prayer’s also intimidating. This isn’t a conversation with just anyone, it’s a conversation with God — the creator of the universe. What do you say to someone so important? How do you address Him? It’s no wonder people resort to the most formal thing they can think of – King James English complete with “thee’s” and “thou’s,” – sounding like they’re addressing Her Royal Majesty a thousand years ago.
Prayer’s especially tough when you haven’t done it in awhile, especially if your silence was on purpose, not just because you were busy or thinking about other things. How do you pray when you’re mad at God, or when you’ve spent your entire life being mad at Him? How do you break a silence like that? What on earth do you say?
I’ve been through lots of seasons with God, sometimes we’re so close I feel like I can reach out and touch Him, and sometimes He feels so far away from me, I’m sure He’s left for good. And sometimes I’m so distracted, so busy, and so focused on other things I forget to talk to Him altogether. And then when I realize how long it’s been, it’s really hard to begin again.
When I’m at a stuck place in my prayers — whatever the reason — there’s one thing I come back to, one story that reminds me just how simple and wonderful prayer can be.
If you’ve ever heard my story, you know that a large part of my journey towards becoming a Christian happened because of the book, Eat, Pray, Love.
I read it during the most painful breakup of my life, and it melted a part of my heart I hadn’t realized was frozen over. I wasn’t a Christian at the time, and had never thought about a relationship with God. But as I was nursing a broken heart, and trying to figure out how to put it back together, these words opened up a whole new world for me I had never even considered.
It opened up the idea for me that I could talk to God, that maybe it didn’t take “thee’s” or “thou’s” or a perfect knowledge of the Bible. It made me wonder if maybe I could talk to Him, and maybe, just maybe, He’d listen.
From her position, sobbing on the bathroom floor, a broken hearted Liz Gilbert (the author of Eat, Pray, Love) prays her very first prayer. She looks up at the ceiling and says, “Hello God. How are you? I’m Liz. It’s nice to meet you.”
She stops herself before she says, “I’ve always been a big fan of your work,” having nothing more than cocktail party etiquette to guide her in her very first prayer.
I love this. I love this down to my toes, and when I’m at my best, this is exactly how I pray. I pray honestly, and humbly, and with normal person words — the kind I use when I’m talking to my best friend.
This story reminds me that our prayers don’t have to be impressive, because really, how could we impress someone who hears our thoughts (all of them, not just the good ones)?
Our prayers can be honest and raw, and I think that’s how God likes them best. Because at least in my life, when I’m opened up to Him like that is when He does His best work in me.
So if you haven’t prayed in awhile, or if you haven’t prayed ever, or if something’s pulled you away from God and you’re not sure how to begin again, try starting the way Liz Gilbert started, the way I start when I’m not sure what to say.
“Hi God, How are you? It’s me, Stephanie. It’s been awhile.”
It’s simple and honest, and He can take it from there.
What do you do when you don’t know what to pray?