“Brianna, would you lead us in prayer?”
“Of course,” I answer, as my heart rate goes up and my hands start to get sweaty. My brain scrambles to come up with something to say. I begin to speak. My voice shakes as I utter a few words that I think best fit the situation. I sigh with relief after I finally get it over with and say “Amen.”
My Dear Readers,
Prayer is something I have always struggled with. It’s hard to admit, but it’s true. I have trouble communicating in general.
Growing up in the church it always seemed like a competition, which I know, sounds ridiculous. BUT that’s how I felt. Everyone would offer up these beautiful prayers, they sounded like sheer poetry. They didn’t trip over their words as I would have, but they were able to speak out confidently to God as if it had been rehearsed a million times.
I saw a video from one of my favorite comedians about prayer the other day, he was like “Who’s gonna pray? Hmm, let’s pick the “most spiritual” person in the room because that prayer will probably be the most powerful.” It’s funny because it’s so true.
I felt like I didn’t know how to pray. More so when asked to in front of other people. I felt judged because my prayers didn’t sound as great as everyone else’s. Welp, maybe I just wasn’t “spiritual” enough.
Not only did I struggled to pray in front of other people, I also struggled to pray on my own. What am I “supposed” to say? What if my words aren’t worthy enough? There was so much pressure to say the right things. It seemed like everyone else did it so effortlessly.
I remember a conversation I had with one of my friends a long time ago. She asked how I was doing and I told her honestly about some things I was going through. “Have you talked to the Father about it?” She asked. “No…” I admitted.
“Tell Him what you told me. Tell Him about your worries, your fears, everything. It’ll help, I promise.”
So I did, and it really did help. I talked to God, just as if I were talking to a friend, I expressed how I felt and told him about my anxieties. I had an honest, real conversation with Him about everything In my life, positive or negative, it didn’t matter, I just gave it all to Him. My words were far from perfect as I cried out to Him.
I pondered that for a while… What if my prayers don’t have to be perfect?
Yahweh wants our hearts. He wants to take our brokenness and repair it, but He can’t do that unless we open up to Him.
“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.”
Prayer is not about fancy words or showing off to everyone. It’s about earnestly communicating with God. It’s one of the most important things in life.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
-1 John 1:9
Most of my prayers begin with: “God, I am a mess, and I know You’re the only one who can fix me.”
When you form a friendship with someone, and they share something about themselves that’s deep and personal you feel so much closer to them. It’s like “Wow, this person trusts me enough to tell me something important about them.” It automatically strengthens that friendship bond. It’s the same way with Yahweh.
I still get a little nervous when asked to pray in front of a group of people, but not as much anymore. Because I’m learning not to care what people think about my prayers, I don’t care if they don’t think they’re embellished enough. All I care about is what Yahweh thinks, He sees my heart and He knows that I have a desire to honor Him through prayer, even if those prayers aren’t always ornate. And that’s all that really matters.
It takes so much pressure off when we’re less concerned about what other people think of us, and more concerned about what Yahweh thinks of us.
Let our words be messy, imperfect, sincere and genuine, and let our prayers be straight from our hearts.
I’ve been taught how to talk to you
Hold it together, make the bad look better
Say all the words that I’m supposed to
Bow my head, say, “amen”
Yeah, that’ll do
Making every dead end look like heaven
Like being okay is the way to reach you
But you’re not afraid of all the things I feel
So why am I afraid of being real?
You want my tears, every messy word
Every scar and every fear
You want all I have
With no holding back
When I’m hurt, at my worst
You meet me there
‘Cause you see the beauty
In my broken prayers
-Broken Prayers, Riley Clemmons