Make Prayer Meaningful

How many times have we been lectured by our parents, agreed to abide, and then went against their wishes, once, twice, a hundredfold? How many times have we said the words, “I’ll keep your secret,only to have trust slip out of our months so easily. How many times have we promised to pray for another, yet find ourselves trying to justify our reasons for breaking that promise? For me, one too many times.

It’s always easy to pretend that we are someone we’re not: the good Christian, daughter and friend. I’ve tried all of these, and I have yet to perfect one.

There was a time in my life when I believed that I had become an atheist. My analytical self started to tear apart the Word in a way that poisoned my faith. I marked my body with tattoos despite the fact that it’s a sin and against my parents’ wishes. The one action that has tainted me the most, however, was betraying those that needed me by failing to pray.

Shouting out a short prayer seems effortless. Oftentimes, it’s easier to “pray” for others than to provide food, money or other acts of service. At least, that’s how it should be. Prayer should be so embedded in our lives that it shouldn’t feel like another assignment on our list. For me, and probably for many others, it’s not that easy; it’s a daily struggle. Prayer was a part of my daily life, but it was far from being “one” with me as it should have been. My mouth would easily respond with, “Of course, I’ll pray for you,” without conviction behind it.

I am not rich. I don’t have enough to provide for others, especially with money. However, even when I know my resources are limited, I found it habitually easier to provide others with services rather than prayer. As a Christian, prayer is vital. Prayer isn’t a new concept, and it definitely should not be something that makes me feel uncomfortable, especially at the age of 22. I used to offer up prayer easily and without much thought. It was a form of comfort for others, and perhaps I believed those words would soothe those hurting around me. In fact, I was hurting them more by giving them false words.

James 1: 23-24 says, “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”

I am no longer quick to promise others my prayers. As a Christian, I strongly believe that promises, especially prayer, should not be made unless we can commit to them. We make promises to God all the time, promises that we cannot keep. New Year’s resolutions are filled with “reading the bible more,” and “praying more,” yet we don’t maintain any of these. It’s always best to start small and with what we can actually accomplish.