I had a conversation not long ago with someone and eventually the conversation wandered into the topic of prayer. The person told me: “I don’t really like to pray.” “Why is that?” I asked. “Because I don’t understand it. It doesn’t make much sense to me.”
I get that. Of course, by the same logic, I probably never should turn on a light switch, because I don’t really understand how electricity works…how it is generated…transmitted…controlled. But I do flip on a light switch, because I want to see.
Prayer is one of those things that we do, without understanding it. And there are many things in my life that fit into this category.
Fredrick Buechner is one of my faith heroes. I love his writing, and his wisdom. I have learned amazing amounts about living as a person of faith from him. I tripped across this short video snippet where he talks about his own prayer life. He describes it as “random,” “scattered” “inarticulate” and “helpless.” When I hear Fredrick Buechner describe his own prayer life this way, I find myself reassured. I don’t need to be an expert. I don’t need to perform to any particular set of expectations. I don’t need to pray to impress God. Nor do I need to “inform” God of things that God doesn’t know. That’s not possible.
We pray because it helps us to see. We pray because it deepens our relationship with God. We pray because it is a faith practice that take our own faith to a deeper level. We pray because the more we pray, the easier it is to pray; and praying helps us to see God within our world and our lives.
An important element of faith is trust. And we don’t have to understand prayer in order to pray. We just trust the connection that God creates within that relationship.
And we pray.
I’ve embedded the Fredrick Buechner video below.