By Barbara Klugh
Lay member of Grace

Prayer is a conversation with our God who loves us, and is as individual as our fingerprints. It’s much more than asking for favors, though that’s a part of it. It is the praise of God’s glory, a sense of awe for God’s creation, thanksgiving for God’s blessings, and sorrow for our sins.

The Missal, by John Williams Waterhouse (1849 - 1917). Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The Missal, by John Williams Waterhouse (1849 – 1917). Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Many people desire to pray, but think they don’t know how. There is no right way or wrong way to pray, nor is any subject off limits or any need too trivial. God has planted the desire to pray within our hearts, and God wants to hear from all of us, no matter how broken or unworthy we may feel.

Prayer can be sitting in patient silence as we invite God’s presence into our lives, reading a prayer from the Prayer Book, reflecting on a passage from the Bible, or simple and silent thoughts to God throughout the day, such as “Help me,” “I’m sorry,” “Thank you,” “Forgive me,” or “Help me to forgive.”

As we grow in our prayer lives, we begin to move deeper into faith. This is when we trust in God’s love and commit to do God’s will. As an example, if facing an operation, we may begin by praying that it won’t hurt and that we’ll be all right. But then we move deeper and ask God to help us to be brave if it does hurt, and to give us strength and courage to make the best of the outcome, whatever it may be. Honest, trusting prayer opens our hearts and minds to recognize the reality of a situation and to pray for God’s grace to endure difficulties.

Prayer is a spiritual practice. As Episcopal Christians, we are encouraged to pray the Daily Office from the Book of Common Prayer beginning on p 75. If you don’t yet have a Prayer Book, you are welcome to take one from any pew in the sanctuary. Keep it and use it well as a gift from the people of Grace. For more about the Daily Office, click here for Daniel’s article.

The Prayer book contains a treasury of prayers that can help us express our concerns. Find prayers for the sick and prayer for use by a sick person on pp 458 – 461. Find a wonderful section of prayers and thanksgivings for all sorts of situations on pp 810 – 841. More information about prayer and the principal kinds of prayer may be found in our Catechism on pp 856 – 857.

By developing the habit of prayer, we come to know that prayer is not a way for us to control God, but a way to surrender ourselves to God’s love, protection, and guidance.

As our Savior Christ has taught us, we pray,

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those
who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and forever.
Amen.