But in saying to put on the armor of prayer, God does not give us a list of TO DOs and TO NOT DOs. He stated, Pray with all kinds of prayers and ask for everything you need. In short, God says, talk to me. In another part of the Bible St. Paul speaks of praying without ceasing and in another passage reminds us to pray at all times and in all places. Jesus himself tells us to pray always. Praying is a BIG deal...all kinds of prayers made with a heart for God. God even tells us to pray about our unbelief! (After all, our struggles are not surprise to God, but when we talk about them to God it opens our heart to hear God's wisdom on the subjects with which we struggle.) We can praise and worship God in prayer. We can confess our mistakes and fears and ask in confidence for help from the Holy Spirit. We can tell God about our needs, hopes and dreams and pray on behalf of family, friends and strangers. We can engage in prayers of thanksgiving even in the darkest corners. Sometimes we learn God has even answered our prayers before we knew what we needed!
So what about this prayer thing? Is it begging God for stuff? Even good stuff? Is it performing for our Sunday School class or parent? Is it a dry, repetitive list of demands offered with little hope of "success"? Unfortunately these things sometimes do pass for prayer among the uninitiated.
But for someone growing in their faith and spiritual maturity and pro-actively seeking a deeper relationship with God is it a miracle that ushers many blessings into our life: deeper understanding and reliance on the amazing nature of God's Will which always seeks our best. For folks struggling, it is the solid rock that does not move, even as we feel tossed upon the waves of fear and uncertainty. For lonely folks it is the lifeline to their Friend, their Lord and their Father.
It is the cry of a newborn to the softest breath of the dying and every interaction between. God tolerates our anger, our foolishness, our willfulness while schooling us, nurturing us and loving us to a life of purpose and fulfillment. He takes our worst traits and refines them into the specific skills and talents for the tasks and plans ordained since our birth.
Just keep praying! Never stop! Never fear God does not hear or does not care. Just keep praying!
* Ephesians 6:10-18