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Jul 10, 2012

Freedom in Prayer

Well, it’s been a long time and I’d been wondering if the season for my blogging was over. However, I recently heard a sermon on the importance of daily prayer and I had some thoughts that I wanted to share so my blog seemed the best and most effective way of doing that.

The speaker insisted that we need to pray every day in order to receive God’s guidance for that day. He cautioned us that if we didn’t pray, we would make decisions in the flesh and those decisions could lead to potential disaster. Then, as he also stated, when he prayed at the start of each day, he received God’s wisdom for that day and he therefore made good decisions. Well, that all sounds good, but . . .

For several years now, I’ve rarely prayed in the traditional fashion of sitting down and verbalizing my prayers to God and yet most of my decisions are good decisions. I’m glad that the traditional method of prayer works well for that speaker but I’ve found that there’s no one size fits all method of prayer. While what he does may work well for him, it’s never worked for me. I tried that method for years and it just didn’t work. I tried praying in English and I’ve tried praying in tongues. I’ve tried “praying the word” as well as using prayer lists, all with minimal results and God never seemed any closer. The result was always a lot of stress and guilt wondering what I was doing wrong, why I couldn’t meet God’s expectations. Finally, I just gave up and stopped praying and, while that relieved the stress, the guilt increased because now I felt like I was drifting away from God.

It was only when I began to understand that my thoughts are prayer that I began to experience true freedom. When that revelation first came to me, I had never heard anyone say that before and I honestly thought I was losing it. I even spoke to my friend, Darin Hufford, and asked him about it thinking that he would say something to fix my faulty thinking. Instead, he told me that that’s how he prays and assured me that I’m doing just fine. Over the years, I’ve experienced greater peace about my “style of praying” and I’ve also since found out that many other people pray that same way so it’s not as unusual as I once thought.

I love that God gives us the freedom to develop our own unique relationship with him. We’re not just cookie cutter Christians and he’s not a vending machine God. We don’t have to try to fit ourselves into an accepted mold of Christian living. We’re free to be ourselves and to relate to him in our uniqueness. While I was writing this, I saw a poster which I think beautifully expresses what I’ve been trying to say. It read:
“Be yourself. An original is always worth more than a copy.”

I think that’s advice that’s good to remember as we work through this journey of learning to live free from religious expectations in order to find and experience our own unique relationship with God.

by Aida Calder

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  1. Gravatar

    Thanks for this - all my Christian life I have found the whole prayer thing very confusing - You have certainly given me something to ponder with "thinking being prayer" - makes a lot of sense if we believe the Holy Spirit lives in us

  2. Gravatar

    Like you, I've also found the concept of prayer confusing and I struggled with it for many years so I understand your confusion. I'm glad you found this post helpful.

  3. Gravatar

    Good stuff Aida! I also gave up traditional prayer a couple of years ago; however being that i still go to church, its kind of impolite to not join in on the traditional prayer routine with the team (am part of the production team). So i guess am okay with either :)

  4. Gravatar

    Thanks for your comment, Timothy. I don't believe there's a right way to pray or a wrong way to pray. Prayer is simply sharing our heart with God as he shares his with us and the way that happens is unique with each of us. Also, I don’t believe that prayer always has to be the same. Lately, I’ve been praying a lot in tongues which I really haven’t done in a long time and I’ve also just been letting my heart go out in prayer which is also a different way for me. Real freedom is bring able to change with the circumstances and, when praying with a group, you should pray the way the others feel comfortable. I’m glad you’ve been able to experience that freedom.

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