A Place of Pondering

Prayer

In preparation for a lesson today I pondered the discussion topic “How can I make my prayers more meaningful?”. I was first drawn to my longstanding issue with mealtime prayer. I think the issue first started back in elementary. I was used to praying at every meal and then my first day at Kindergarten, I didn’t know what to do. I asked my Mom about it that day and she told me I could pray on my own, even while the other kids were eating. My mealtime prayers occurred less and less though, and as I grew older I began to wonder why. Why is it so important we pray at meals? I had by then eaten enough in blessed meals to know that it was still edible and nutritious. So why would some people get so upset if one bite is taken before a prayer? I pondered on this and another reason came to me. While it is important to give thanks for what God has given us, that isn’t the real focus of mealtime prayers. The focus is humbly inviting Father to be a part of our mealtime conversations. This also explains the emphasis on family meals. It’s all about the time together. Realizing this transformed the way I view mealtime prayers and the ensuing conversation, it is something I want to focus on in my own family in the future.
This realization led me to another truth, that I already had felt and experienced but hadn’t put into an expression.
Meaningful prayer will carry on the Conversation long after amen has been said.
My personal prayers have followed this for a long time. I don’t worry about structuring my prayers (with an address to God, giving thanks, asking for things, and closing in the name of Jesus Christ) but instead I just talk to my Father. I don’t worry much about what I am doing physically at the time either. I don’t feel I need to be kneeling or eyes closed or folded arms to be able to talk to my Father. As I have learned to listen, I have realized He wants to have such conversations. My personal prayers are divine conversations where I discuss ideas with Him and He shows me how to improve on those. Public or group prayers are not the conversation with Father, they are the invitation for Him to join in whatever activity, conversation, and thoughts we then have. When viewed this way, opening prayers are more than natural and it means I should be listening for His presence throughout the event.

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