How Should We Pray?

In one or other of the gospels, the disciples ask Jesus, “How should we pray?”

And Jesus responds, “Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name….”

This is all well and good, and it’s a powerful prayer and all, but it is now 2019, and we don’t live in Jerusalem. (But if you do, thanks for reading!)

I have another idea.

When you pray, pour your whole fucking heart out.

God can take it, and She won’t judge you.

Sit down in a safe space, and tell God all the issues going on in your life. That you’re pissed off with that one, and you can’t figure this thing out at work, and your kid is sick, and you’re tired, and maybe you’re addicted to wine (been there!), and you’re really angry, and you’re terrified about what’s going to happen, and you’re confused. Let the tears come. The tears are always a sign of progress. It means you’re getting the pain out, you’re finding a release, you’re emptying so you can be full again, full of something greater than the reptile of your mind. You can tell God you’re pissed at him, too, because he gets that a lot. He understands. He’s a punching bag that won’t punch back. Mainly, He—or She, whichever you prefer—will just hold you while you vent. And then will come an offering of some sort. It might just be a breadcrumb. It doesn’t have to be the whole loaf. But when you’ve poured your heart out in this way, and you’ve remained open to listening for an answer, you’re more likely to take the breadcrumb and feel full.

Some people have set prayers they say, and that’s okay, but it’s very hard—in my opinion—to stir your heart when words are rote and tired. Repeating someone else’s created prayer as your only spiritual practice is like having a hungry lion show up in your backyard and handing it a cracker. It might not do the trick.

So give up those old, static prayers, and pray with your whole being.

Once you pour it all out and bow down at the feet of the One who made you, you will actually find some clarity and some peace. It might not happen right away. Maybe it will happen with a good night’s sleep. But what you’ll start to realize is that what you thought you wanted, may not be what you wanted. Who you thought you were was somehow different than how you’ve been living. You may have been grasping at the wrong things.

Cause here’s the kicker. When you pray for specific things, it’s likely that they’ll appear, but they don’t always give you happiness. You may pray for a particular person to love you, for instance, and then you get her, and soon she disappoints you, or dies.

Or you pray for more money, and while you’re walking the dog, you find twenty dollars on the sidewalk. Ha! God laughs.

What we really want is bigger than all that, usually. We spend much of our lives going around in circles, cats chasing our own tails. I want this! Now I have it and doesn’t feel that good. Bummer. I want that! Oof. That didn’t work out either.

We’re like kids in a toy store, overwhelmed by all the possibilities, wanting more than we can ever possibly enjoy or play with.

So keep it simple. Pour out your heart. Bow down at the feet of your Creator, let your forehead touch the sand. Tell the One all your fears and pain and all the shit you didn’t even know was in there. Surprise yourself with what you can do. Discover what’s really in your heart, past all the noise.

And get ready to see the real you, who you can fully and wholly love, and who becomes more and more empowered to take bold, brilliant steps into the future.


“Prayer” by Splankna Therapy Institute is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0


Categories: spirituality and faith


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