The Art of Prayerful Thinking

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Have you ever noticed someone praying in a restaurant? Does it make you feel uncomfortable to see someone praying in public? Do you pray in public? Do you pray before meals? Do you pray before your feet hit the floor in the morning, and before you fall asleep? Do you engage in a conversation with God all day, or only when something goes wrong?

I grew up in a Christian home. My parents taught me and my siblings to pray before mealtime. The prayer was always the same, “God is Great, God is Good, Let us thank Him for our food, By His hand we all are fed in Jesus name amen”. I prayed this prayer my entire young life. I never really thought about the words up until now. If you pray the same prayer daily, does it become mundane and a simple reciting of words to God? Does it teach children to thank God for other things in life? Does it help us to get closer to God? My father always prayed a “special prayer” on Holidays. I call it special, because it was a long, unrehearsed prayer to God. He always thanked God for more than our food. He thanked God for giving us His Son, for saving us from our sins, and he always made sure he blessed everyone at the table. I loved to hear those special prayers on holidays, but they always ended the day after. Once again, I grew up never giving this a second thought.

Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]. James 5:16 AMP

As I grow older, I am becoming more aware of how prayer and conversations with God clearly enhance my relationship with Him. I started to wonder what my faith would be like had I been taught to have daily conversations with God at a young age. I was taught to pray, but I was never taught what to pray for. What if I had been taught to pray an unrehearsed prayer, to have a conversation with God? Would I be a stronger Christian now? Would I now have to constantly remind myself to pray at dinner? I’ve come to realize that prayer is essentially a habit you develop, and as this prayer becomes part of your daily life it becomes a necessity to fill the heart, and make our relationship with God stronger. If I had been taught to consistently be in prayer, would I be as uncomfortable to pray in public? Well, I have prayed in public, in fact I now pray in public quite often. I pray with homeless people in shelters and in parks all the time. Yet, as I look back on my prayers in public, one particular prayer comes to mind. This would be the ultimate prayer, the prayer I prayed with others at a local Walmart. I was working with a Homeless woman one night, and we prayed for this woman in the middle of Walmart.

I prayed in Walmart tonight. It was a total first for me.

To be standing in a circle praying love and grace

over a sweet lady named Baby.

She leaves in two days on a journey,

a journey all her own.

God has set the pace for her,

it is hers and hers alone.

When she gets to her destination,

may He see that everything is just right.

For we prayed in a circle for her,

in the middle of Walmart tonight.

prayer

Prayer is the most potent force known to humanity! Prayer is by far the essence of who we become in Christ. Prayer is the intimate relationship I strive for with God. Prayer has ultimately become my night and day, my every hour of every day because as I mature in my relationship with God, I yearn that much more to sustain a never ending conversation.

Sandie Heckman

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