Honest Prayer

In Christianity on December 13, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Is prayer difficult for you? It is for most of us, at one time or another. Yet a wonderful pastor once told me that, if he awoke during the night, he simply said, “Jesus, I love you.” Honest prayer.

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, now in eternity, wrote about honest prayer in his book As I Lay Dying. He prayed the familiar child’s nighttime prayer throughout his whole life: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray thee Lord my soul to keep; if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” Honest prayer.

Maybe we find prayer difficult because we think we need to say a lot, or pray more than we’re able to say. God be thanked, in such times, the Holy Spirit prays with us—indeed, prays for us!¹ But a heart in love with Christ always wants to bring its own prayer offering, however small. That’s why I’ve begun writing down simple prayers spoken by others. I want them at times words don’t come easily.

Here are a few, if you need them, too.

Keep on loving those who know You!
– Psalm 36:11, Grail Translation

Do not leave behind You a big crowd when You turn away from here, but have mercy on us.
– 8th Century Old English Advent Lyrics quoted in December 2, 2012, Magnificat

I dare to beg You, Father, forgive us! Not everything is wrong. Infuse those who persist in faith with courage and hope.
– The documentary, The Polish Pope (Polski Papiez)

¹ Romans 8:26-27

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