For me, prayer is how I focus beyond myself and tap into a power, an energy, a being called God, who gives all things life and whose spirit lives in me and in all people.
Why I Pray
I pray every day. I have for as long as I can remember. For me, prayer is about several things:
I believe God already knows everything that I am thinking or saying before I do and I believe God is already in every situation that I am praying about. Prayer is more about me acknowledging how and where I am and recognising that I am not alone. Some people might describe it as tapping into positive energy or listening to their intuition. For me, this is the energy of God and listening to the spirit of God guiding me.
How I Pray
I start my day with a time of quiet, just getting still. Silence is good. I read a bit of the Bible or write in my spiritual journal – a book where I write down my thoughts and feelings about my life and my journey with God. Sometimes I am happy, sometimes sad or angry, sometimes I wonder if God is even listening. I write it all down!
I might pray out loud, especially if I am trying to work something out, talking with God the same way I chat with a close friend. No fancy words or special vocabulary. I do say the prayer most days that Jesus taught his followers. It traditionally starts “Our Father, who is in heaven”. Some people prefer to say “Our Creator..” It is helpful to say this prayer, especially if I am struggling to know what to pray about. It is comforting to know that there are people all over the world who also say this prayer and I am part of a huge faith community. I sometimes use prayers written by other people or listen to worship songs and hymns. They can express my thoughts and feelings in a new way, offering a fresh understanding of God.
Some days I will move about, using my body to pray. It sounds a bit weird, doesn’t it? But standing up and spreading out your arms really changes your energy. Here is one example. I remember all the things I am grateful for and then reach out my arms and hands, thinking about someone I know who needs joy in their life and sending the joy to them. Remembering the good things in my own life and in the world is particularly helpful if I am worried or anxious.
When I pray, I trust that God is already at work in the person or situation I am praying about, with or without my prayers. My prayer helps me to feel connected to the situation, makes me more conscious of what I might be able to do that will make a difference.
Does Prayer Work?
That’s the big question isn’t it? I suppose it depends on what you are expecting prayer to do.=
When I pray, I trust that God is already at work in the person or situation I am praying about, with or without my prayers. My prayer helps me to feel connected to the situation, makes me more conscious of what I might be able to do that will make a difference. Answers to prayer often come in the shape of human beings doing something. People around the world are praying for an end to the global Covid 19 pandemic. I believe God is at work in the inspirational moments that lead scientists to a breakthrough in treatment and in the extra strength and patience that a nurse finds at the end of a very long shift. We also all have a part in bringing the pandemic to an end by taking responsibility for our own handwashing, keeping socially distant and looking after those who are isolated at home. There is no point in praying for an end to the pandemic and then not following the scientific guidance that will keep us all safe!
Whenever anyone says that they are praying for me, I feel connected and supported, knowing that other people are thinking of me in my situation. That gives me strength, hope and encouragement. This is particularly important at times when I am struggling to pray, for whatever reason.
Prayer is about being connected – to God, to the world, to yourself. You don’t need any special place, particular words or special equipment. It can be as simple as ‘Hello God, I don’t know what to say’ and just being quiet for a minute or two. Try it.
One book I found really helpful is “When Bad Things Happen to Good People” by Harold S. Kushner. The author is a Rabbi (Jewish religious teacher and leader) and his son was born with an incurable condition, which meant he would not live to be an adult. In dealing with this most difficult situation, Kushner really tackles some important questions about human life, suffering and faith, including whether prayer works. It is worth reading.
Prayer is about being connected – to God, to the world, to yourself. You don’t need any special place, particular words or special equipment. It can be as simple as “Hello God, I don’t know what to say” and just being quiet for a minute or two. Try it.
ABOUT THIS MCC AUTHOR: Rev. Elder Cecilia Eggleston is the Moderator of MCC and is responsible for leading MCC globally. She is CEO and Chief of Staff, leading and guiding the MCC staff team, Chair of the Governing Board and is a member of the Council of Elders. She is the spokesperson for MCC and is responsible for advancing the vision and mission of MCC worldwide.