Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How do you pray? For years I would not have known how to answer that question. Fear would well up and my heart would jump if someone asked me to pray. I always felt inadequate and unworthy. I felt as though everyone was listening and judging what it was that I was saying.

I don't know that the church ever really helped with this kind of prayer anxiety. I, along with everyone else, left the praying to the experts. The pastors where the ones who knew how to do the praying, "I will let them come up with the 'right' words". So I sat in the pew participating in prescribed prayers, that over time came to have great meaning, but never willing to offer anything of my own heart.

Over time, with great trials, and much maturity this anxiety has begun to fade. A rich spirituality has begun to emerge that encompasses the complexity of the theological tradition from which I am hewed. It has taken a long time to become comfortable enough in my own skin to be open to dare to ask how it is that God is working in my life.

Now I myself am a pastor and I see the same kind of "prayer anxiety" in so many people that I encounter. So I have decided that I would open a door to my prayer life. For those who wish to accompany me on this prayer adventure I only ask one thing. I ask that you would be honest about your anxiety and open to the questions that we will encounter.

I, by no means, have all of the answers. The best that I can claim to have is more questions. But as I understand my own spiritual direction this isn't about getting answers, its about asking better questions. I hope that by allowing you to participate in my own journey that it would enable and equip you to ask your own questions.


  1. Every time we pray, it as more to ourselves than any God.

  2. I wonder just how many people have encountered the same experience growing up, as you. The "prescribed prayers" or the "hurry up and get through the prayers because they are long and my kids are noisy". More contemplative prayers, more prayer commitment, more prayer time is what I long for. Thank you for including me in this blog.

  3. I wonder that too bhoney. Although I do still find comfort in the prescribed prayers as well. I have been overwhelmed at times when sitting at the bedside of someone who is dying or sick. Sometimes there are no "right" words to say. But it has been amazing to me that even people who you think cant speak they will say this prayer with me. I remember about six months ago sitting by the bedside of a woman who had had a massive stroke. I was told that she could not talk and that things were going down hill very fast. But when myself and the other visitor began to pray this prayer together, she joined in with us. Now, we told the doctor and her sons what had happened and they said that it was impossible. The part of her brain that controlled her speech was just too far gone. But I know, and her friend knows, that her final word was "Amen".