Shabbat Shalom: Let’s Pray©

Today’s Shabbat Shalom post focuses on prayer and the rationale for prayer from my own experiences in praying.

The one thing most of us are taught as children is to pray. Who remembers:

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.

And before too long we recited that prayer each night before bed. Or other similar ritual prayers at the appropriate time, like before we eat.

For health and strength and daily food we praise thy name, Oh Lord.

Is prayer then a ritual, an obligation or an activity?

The more I think on prayer and why I pray, the more I’ve come to realize that my prayers are really but fragments of my heart.

Like when I awake from sleeping, open my eyes and I realize I’m alive—the fragment of gratitude from my heart escapes upon my lips: “thank you Father for waking me up”.

With all there is to say to God—

  • the thanksgiving, the praising, the adoration, the questioning …
  • the joy, the sorrow, the loss, the longing, the hurting …
  • the wonderings and what-ifs, the near-misses and could-have-been …

—my prayers are unending conversations taking place with

  • eyes-wide-open, eyes-tightly-closed …
  • standing-up, kneeling-down …
  • hands clasped or held high …

—my prayers are filled with emotions seen in

  • tears of joy or tears of sadness …
  • unending smiles and abandoned laughter …
  • sometimes loud and sometimes soft …
  • sometimes no words at all just groans and tears …

—my prayers transpire while I’m

  • folding laundry …
  • washing dishes …
  • walking …
  • jogging …

So, prayer then is not an activity or an obligation nor is it a ritual—it’s a way of being.

In prayer I find:

  • Surrender. To let go off of whatever is burdening me and this is spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically healing and restorative.
  • Gratitude. To be in a state of thankfulness.
  • Reflection. To see myself as if looking in a mirror. For when I go before God, there’s no need to hide any part of me for He sees me in my all-ness. In prayer I safely bare my soul.
  • Relationship is the greatest benefit of praying. In being in constant communication with God, He becomes as real to me as my best-forever-friend.

So prayers are fragments of what my heart feels in that moment and I share it with my God.

There are things I’ve prayed for and the answers I want are not the ones I got and I’ve been hurt and disappointed. But after grappling with the “why” and the hurt and disappointment, I remember that I serve a God who loves and cares for me explicitly and that the objective of my prayer isn’t to change God. For as C.S. Lewis reminds us, prayer doesn’t change God. It changes me.

Shabbat Shalom. May the revelations of your heart be expressed in fragments of prayer.

2022 ©DeeMin All rights reserved

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In creative solidarity, Dee

10 thoughts on “Shabbat Shalom: Let’s Pray©

  1. harripat

    Hi Dawn. Prayer means different things to different people. To me, prayer is my connection with God. It is being aware that there is someone who wakes me up every morning . In fact the first thing I say on mornings is ” thank you Jesus.” Many times we replace the childhood prayers with cute phrases from our religion that we have come to memorize. I am amused when I hear them. E.g. “hide me behind your Cross”, anoint me from the top of my head to the soul of my feet” and many more. We have to develop our own way of talking to God.
    Your post was ireflective and intriguing as usual. While we do talk to God as we go through the day most of us see the beginning and the end of the day as special times to talk to Jesus. I would say that in this sense it is something we must do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely Harri. Just like we communicate with dif friends differently I think we each have our unique ways to commune with God. Praying to start and end the day we must do but not out of a ritual. #Relationship all the way. Thanks for your usual insights and for engaging. Much appreciated!!!! Cheers 🙏🏽💗🙏🏽


  2. Roxanne

    I love how you opened the blog by walking us down memory lane with ritualistic, childhood prayers and juxtaposing it at the end with your relationship with God. I’m captivated by this sentence under the subheading “Relationship”.

    “In being in constant communication with God, He becomes as real to me as my best-forever-friend.”

    I totally identify with this. Thx for sharing another powerful shabbat-shalom with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tyrone

    Hi Dee, inspirational but I must add that I do believe that prayers are also obligatory. As Muslims we set aside certain times of the day for prayers. It’s not that we can’t pray outside of those times, but by setting aside those times means that we specifically focusing on God during a specific time, which make it obligatory

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes there it is—your full expression. I appreciate your perspective Tyrone. We all pray for different reasons but I think we all do it toward the same aim: to build relationship with God. Blessings on you!! Cheers 🙏🏽💗🙏🏽


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