“I have never been good at prayer. I sit down, do the sign of the cross, and then it all falls apart. I start with thanksgiving, and then attempt to pray for my family, friends and special intentions. I never do it right and can never seem to remember what I have already done. My brain goes all over the place.”
Stop, wait a minute. Did you see what was wrong with that first paragraph? I was criticizing myself for thinking my prayer life with God is wrong. There is no right or wrong way to pray. Our idea of how to pray is built off of others’ prayer lives. We see what we think others do, but we have no idea what actually goes on. We see people that are “good at praying,” but what makes a person good at prayer?
We of course all have different ways of praying, but I am going to share with you what mine looks like. This is not for you to compare your prayer life to me, but to look at what I do and how it is far from “perfect.”
I am a very visual and audible person. The only way I can pray is to talk to Jesus out loud. I sit across from a crucifix and just talk. I talk to him about everything that is going on in my life. The good, the bad, the lows and the highs. What has been bugging me the whole day, and what I saw that brought me joy.
I light a candle and call on the Holy Spirit to help guide me and teach me how to pray. I talk with Jesus. Sometimes I play some music and sing. If I don’t feel like talking, I will journal. Whatever comes to mind, I write it. I also have a gratitude journal. I try to remember all the blessings God has provided me with. I am not the most positive person, and this has personally been something I have recently added to help me to be more thankful for everything I have in my life. Other times if I feel like I need to hear God’s voice, I just open the Bible to a random page and read. You would be surprised with how much God reveals to you by doing this.
In truth, my type of prayer changes nightly. As I said, I am a visual person, so I love going to adoration. I also am a very social person; I like to go to mass or night prayer to pray with others. It helps keep me on track, more reverent and focused.
Something I learned this year was how to pray for people while I am talking with them. While I’m listening to their needs, intentions, or things they’re struggling with, I always say, “I will pray for you,” but unless I do it right then and there, I forget before I even get to it.
I have, like, eight different styles of prayer, and they’re all different. They all speak to me in a different way, but all help me know Jesus better. Like I said, it’s not perfect, but it’s perfect for me and only me.
My way of prayer is not wrong. If yours differs from mine, it’s not wrong either. That is the beauty of God. We each have our own relationship with him, but he loves us the same. The relationships you have with people are formed through connection and communication, just like with God. To form a relationship with God and a “good prayer life” is through practicing talking with God through prayer.
Hopefully this helped you see that it’s impossible to be bad at praying. It’s simply not possible. Let God take over, give him control and just be open to him. That is all that he asks. Allow God into your life and into your heart and you will be fine.
Let me know what you think. Have you ever felt like you’re bad at prayer?
Thanks for reading, God bless!