Prayer– to address God with Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. This is the manner in which I was taught to pray….and in that order. Sounds good, right? After all, intellectually speaking we’ve covered all the bases and even made an acronym of the word ACTS.
Yet when I look at David’s prayers in scripture, I don’t always see form and structure as being a top priority. David was known for laying his soul bare. His prayers didn’t always meet the required criteria for performing religious ‘ACTS’. His prayers poured unreservedly from his heart to the God he loved. It was not some learned mantra, designed to elicit a desired result. He was not addressing some distant being, but rather the God of creation who loved him and cared for him personally. And I talk to that personal God daily.
The God I know, knows me. I don’t have to be afraid to approach him. He’s the giver of good things and the one I know wants only my best. I may not understand all of what he allows in my life, but I know if he’s allowed it, it is for my benefit. He’s the God I meet during shower-cries….and don’t tell me you haven’t met him there, too. He’s there when my heart is elatedly soaring, and when I am, as Anne would say, ‘in the depths of despair’. He’s the one who keeps me centered and calm in the midst of life’s surprises. He’s the righteous judge and the merciful Savior.
They say your view of God is greatly affected by your view of your father. I guess that’s true. I knew my father was the loving authority in our home. It made me sad when I disobeyed him, because I knew he only wanted my best and I could trust him. Yet, I could approach him with anything. This is the way my prayer life is with God.
So, the question is, what is prayer? To me, it’s a lifelong conversation with the maker of the universe, the creator of life, the Savior of mankind, and yet my personal counselor, redeemer, and friend…the one who formed me in my mother’s womb and knows my inner thoughts. I can hide nothing from him and do not desire to. He knows me; I know him, and our time together is something we call prayer.