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.
How shall I pray?
Are tears prayers, Lord?
Are screams prayers,
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 accept myself.
Help me to accept you as you are, Lord:
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.