Growing up I remember praying every night before bed. It was always the same prayer. The Lord’s Prayer:

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done,
On Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day, our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For Thyne is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.
Amen.”

Then I would always tag on:

“And God bless mommy and daddy; Jennifer and Kevin, Grandma and Grandpa Miller; Grandma Schenkelberg; all our aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews, brothers and sisters, and everyone else we love; amen. Oh, and God bless Chelsea (she was our cat).”

It was quite the prayer.

But the first part, that’s what Pastor Daniel was talking about in his message. That’s the way Jesus taught us to pray.

At some point I stopped praying that prayer. Maybe in college. For no particular reason. But I do think it provided structure. And it’s words are so powerful.

We would also pray before every meal:

“Come Lord Jesus, be our guest. Let Thy gifts to us be blessed, amen.”

But over the last four or five years, I’ve seen this change, or this development in our prayer life as a family, and in my own prayer life. Before meals our prayers have become more sincere, with gratitude for what the Lord is doing. They have become words from our hearts, not just repeated phrases.

I pray a lot in my car. Out loud. Maybe specific things that are going on. Maybe just prayer for that day to bring honor to His name and His Kingdom. Maybe for healing. Maybe because I’m so thankful that He gave me breath. Whatever it is, I have found that to be a great time to lift up what’s going on in my life and thank the Lord for it.

But, sometimes I get into these ruts where I fall asleep during my prayer at night. I’ll be laying in bed, exhausted from the day, and it sounds something like:

“Lord God, thank you, for this dsfjksdajflsdjf…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….”

Really honoring, huh?

If that’s you, try sitting up. Or kneeling by your bed. I mean, this is the King of Glory, doesn’t He deserve honor? How would you approach a King? With laziness?

Of course not.

I think that’s what I constantly tell myself when I’m slipping, or question what my prayer life looks like. “How would I approach a King?”

He’s your Heavenly Father, your First Love; so bring Him honor in that.

I love how Pastor Daniel talked about bringing your heart, not just empty words to the Lord. God knows what’s going on; He just wants to talk about it and have you listen.

Bring a genuine heart and you can’t have a ‘bad prayer.’

Prayer is for anytime, anywhere. Not just before meals and bed.

Prayer is so powerful. Live in that. Know that God absolutely answers. It may not be what you think the answer should be, but He always answers.

Have faith that prayer does things. It changes people. It heals. It renews.

-Jen