Prayer can be a difficult idea for people to grasp. It may even be scary for some people. For myself, there are times I feel like I’m just talking to myself, whether that is out loud or in my head, and it causes me to wonder if someone is even listening to me. Sometimes I even end up questioning if I’m doing it right or if there is a right way. Do I have to have a whole speech planned out? Is it better if it sounds more ‘churchy’? Should I use the names ‘Jesus’, ‘God’, or ‘Lord’ in every other sentence? Does it have to be like a conversation or maybe even a therapy session where I get everything off my chest?
I’ve thought about prayer and talked about it in my youth group on many occasions. From what I understand, prayer is simply a way to communicate with God, which doesn’t necessarily mean sitting on your bed and looking at the ceiling talking out loud. I think many people have this traditional idea about prayer and that you need to kneel and fold your hands together and spill all of your deepest thoughts and secrets. While that may be one way to do it, I just don’t see it as a popular option amongst many teens or young adults.
Prayer can be as formal or informal as you’d like for it to be. I think this idea is especially highlighted in Psalms 42:8 which says, “But each day the LORD pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life." To me, this verse is a reminder that prayer can happen in so many different ways. The second half of the verse says “and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life,” which is something I can relate to very literally. Music is a very big part of my life. I’ve been in choir for 7 years and I perform at church occasionally. Regardless, I sing and worship with my congregation, and that’s the most powerful part of the service for me. It had never really occurred to me that singing is a form of prayer because for so long I have had this idea that prayer has to be this strict thing like I mentioned earlier.
Now I recognize singing is my most comfortable form of prayer. When I sing, I feel like I have a true connection with Christ. The words of the songs resonate so well with me and I sing them as if they are my original thoughts coming from my heart. I think it’s especially powerful because it’s something you can do with other people and it doesn’t have an awkward, sit-down feel to it which some people are afraid of.
I think the biggest takeaway is to pray in a way in which you feel most comfortable. Sometimes I pray in my car while I’m driving somewhere by myself. Sometimes I pray in the shower or before bed because it can be calming and it helps me to relax and unwind. Other times, singing a good gospel song at church or singing along with a Christian song on the radio is the best way to pray. I enjoy casual prayer. It makes me feel comfortable and more connected because there is no pressure.
I hope others can view prayer the way I have come to see it because prayer is very important and has the potential to have a big impact on someone’s life. While it can still be scary or uncomfortable at times, figuring out the best way for me to communicate with God has made all the difference. Because of this, I’ve had some great, enlightening experiences that have even turned my day around. Don’t hesitate to pray, in whatever form you choose because God is always here to love and support you and at the end of the day he doesn’t care about how you talk to him, it just matters that you did in the first place.
Written by Kyndal M.