Real prayer happens when we finally get to the end of ourselves, when we stop posing and posturing; when we stop trying to impress God with our vocabulary and understanding. The moment we wonder if we can really “pray like this” is more than likely the moment when your prayer has transcended religious rhetoric becoming as beautiful as the song sung to her daddy by a three-year-old…unskilled, unrefined but infused with hope and love.

For those wondering how they should pray tonight because the burden they bear is too heavy and the nights too long…for those wondering how they should pray when words seem so impotent and deep sighs seem verbose…for those wondering how they should pray tonight, take a moment and absorb the following prayer written by Ted Loder, it’s pure gold.

Monty

_______________________________

How shall I pray?
     Are tears prayers, Lord?
     Are screams prayers, 
          or groans
             or sighs
                or curses?
Can trembling hands be lifted to you,
     or clenched fists
          or the cold sweat that trickles down my back
               or the cramps that knot my stomach?
Will you accept my prayers, Lord, 
      my real prayers,
           rooted in the muck and the mud and the rock of my life,
and not just my pretty, cut-flower, gracefully arranged
     bouquet of words?
Will you accept me, Lord,
     as I really am, 
          messed up mixture of glory and grime?
Lord, help me!
Help me to trust that you do accept me as I am, 
that I may be done with self-condemnation
     and self-pity
          and accept myself.
Help me to accept you as you are, Lord:
     mysterious,
          hidden, 
               strange, 
                    unknowable; 
and yet to trust
     that your madness is wiser
          than my timid, self-seeking sanities,
and that nothing you’ve ever done
     has really been possible,
so I may dare to be a little mad, too.

~Ted Loder

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