Prayer: Is Anyone Listening?

The Question

“Is there a reason I’m not healing
Or am I learning from this pain?
I have a little trouble kneeling
I don’t know what to believe

I’m ready to question
That life is a blessing
Give me a sign, am I following blind?
Is there anyone listening?
Is there anyone listening?
I don’t know”

Gabrielle Alpin, Ready to Question

Prayer – A First Instinct

prayerThere have been times in my life when my first instinct has been to bow my head and bring my hands up, clasped in front of my closed eyes. Inspired by pain, fear or joy, I would immediately and without a second thought begin to pray. At other times in my life I have been resistant. Ignorant and stubborn, I question if it is helping anything at all. And since I converted to Islam, which has a very specific process for prayer, I have begun to question it completely. Not the need for it, because my heart often aches to talk to God, but the actual way we go about it.

Does praying a certain way matter to God? Is it necessary to form actual sentences in our head to pray or does God just look at the wordless way your soul speaks? Does God get angry with us if we go too long in between prayers? Is he less likely to answer us if we only pray when we need something? And does it matter if I am on my knees or standing over my kitchen sink?

To be honest, I have struggled with these questions for a long time, probably at least half of my life. And the more I think about them, the more questions I have. Going through trials in life makes me wonder if we should even ask God to change anything or get us out. Should we only ask for strength? Patience to endure? It is hard for me to not ask for the exact things I want. And maybe that is totally okay with God but I also feel like I am then asking him to change his plans.

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Surrounded By Prayer

Being surrounded by theology and opinions my whole life, has at the same time helped and confused me when it comes to prayer. I hear pastor’s voices regurgitating things they read in books or heard from other pastors. I have peers, family and friends’ voices in my head telling me what prayer means to them personally and what they believe talking to God is really like. And they are all different. So is there a right way?

prayerThough people differ vastly on how to pray, it seems like everyone believes that there is indeed a correct way to pray. And when I am struggling with what to say to God in my more pleading prayers, I often wonder if doing it a different way or saying magic words would ease my pain and bring a quicker ending to whatever trial I am going through.

But the thing I always come back to is thinking about God’s character. When I am questioning prayer and how to go about it, I ask myself a few things:

  • Would a perfect God be petty enough to withhold what I need because I did not ask the right way?
  • Would a perfect God need to hear me even verbalize my thoughts and feelings?
  • Would a perfect God be passive aggressive enough to withdraw from me because I had not prayed in a while.

The answer I come to is No.

Remember, We Are All Humans

prayerAn important thing to keep in mind when thinking about this, is that the people who talk about prayer and interpret the process of it are humans. We are fallible creatures who would not be able to comprehend God’s perfection any more than an ant could understand an iPhone. Communicating with that perfect God is incredibly important and in and of itself a huge blessing to us. Regardless of what it does to instigate change, it has a great purpose. And I ask you to really think about it. Take in as many opinions and theories as you can. Ask God for guidance about what he wants from you when you pray. And make it a life long journey of discovery. I may not know exactly what God does with prayer, but I do know that your life will be lacking without it.

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“I pray because the need flows out of me, all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God, it changes me.” C.S. Lewis


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22 thoughts on “Prayer: Is Anyone Listening?

  1. Claudette, I believe we are Godlike ourselves so Every thought, every word every idea we entertain WITH FEELING/EMOTION attached to it is a Prayer.
    We don’t have to be prepped and say specific words and call that prayer, esp if we are doing it as a chore. I talk to God to the Source of all Good things all the time, I dont have to be at a specific place in my life. Its well!

    1. Ms Claudette

      I so agree with you Julie! That’s how I interpret “pray unceasingly.” Thanks for sharing that. 🙂

  2. I think that praying is a way of comforting ourselves and a way of believing and hoping that our problems are being heard. It’s a way of passing over our grief easier.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Amen, Martina, Amen! Thanks for that…perfect cap to this conversation. 🙂

  3. I am a firm believer in prayer and I will continue to be. I pray just about anytime I feel like praying. I am not the person who has to kneel down and pray and cover my head as is the practice of some people. I believe that as long as the prayer is genuine it will be answered whether it is short of long, whether your head is covered or not, whether you are fully clothed or naked as the day you were born. I believe that the effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much

    1. Ms Claudette

      I agree that with just about everything that you said, but will just say that you don’t have to be ‘righteous’ to have your prayer answered. In fact, I have seen some powerful answered prayers from those who many would consider “not righteous.” 🙂

  4. Interesting post. I am not really religious, but I do think it is so important for people to take quiet time to get in touch with themselves, so meditation is what I try to do daily.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Thanks for that Hannah. Meditation is actually the Challenge word today as it too is a way of praying. Namaste. 🙂

  5. Praying, reflecting, no matter how you call it’s important to allot a couple of minutes of your day to it. I love praying it’s the perfect time to reflect on what has happened so far during the day and what I’m thankful for.
    Carol Cassara recently posted…Too many tomatoes?My Profile

    1. Ms Claudette

      You are exactly right Carol – it matters not how you call it but that you do. Namaste. 🙂

  6. The poem you start with makes me think of one of my favorite quotes: “The harder you fall, the higher you bounce.” (Doug Horton). Some of my hardest times in life brought me to the best.

    I try to be careful what I ask for because sometimes that can end up with an unintended result. I remember wishing I didn’t have to do the dishes as a child, and I ended up breaking a finger!
    Tiffany Cardenas recently posted…Why You Need GrammarlyMy Profile

    1. Ms Claudette

      Be careful what you wish for kind of thing, eh? I love that quote by the way, will have to steal it. Thanks for this insightful comment Tiffany. 🙂

  7. Prayer is something really personal and it can be communing with your inner self and nature. It need not be structured or may not even have words. It is just like a cry of a child o its mother.

    1. Ms Claudette

      And believe me Vyjay, sometimes for me it is bawling! 🙂 Yes, prayer is all about the communication with Who or What is sacred to you. Thanks for tyhe visit. 🙂

  8. I’m a true believer in prayer! It’s part of my life from day to day and I’m not sure where I’d be without it. It’s helped me get through some pretty rough spots in my life. We all need to believe in something!
    Jessica {Swanky Recipes} recently posted…4 Sandwich Recipes for Your next PicnicMy Profile

    1. Ms Claudette

      And I think we all do Jessica and I also think we all pray in one way or another although some will be loath to admit it. 🙂 Thanks for the visit.

  9. Elizabeth O.

    I pray every time I have the chance to. To be honest, there are times wherein I’d just simply talk to God. Like having a conversation with a friend. It doesn’t matter how you pray, so long as you take time to do so. No matter where you are or what your religion is. Praying is something that you can’t really forgo.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Exactly – it matters not or how – simply having that conversation with Who or What you consider sacred is all that matters. Thanks Elizabeth.

  10. I often feel so ADHD when I pray. I start out praying about something than my brain goes on a tangent then another tangent then I realize I am no longer praying and just thinking about stuff. Then I feel bad that I don’t think I am very good at praying.
    Jessica recently posted…Cheaper Balloons that “Fill In a Minute”My Profile

    1. Ms Claudette

      Praying is different for each of us…we are unique in many other ways so why not this? Don’t beat up on yourself trying to abide by any set prescription about praying.

  11. Oh, Claudette we’ve had the conversation many times in our home. My husband and I both grew up and still are Christians. I remember people saying you should pray this or that way, but I just talk cause that’s what’s comfortable to me. I may be getting ready for the day, laying in bed, driving in the car, etc. I tend to speak out loud when I’m alone, but when other’s are home, it’s silent in my head. Why? I don’t know. lol My biggest struggle is doubt when my prayers are answered (good or bad).
    Preschool2teen recently posted…Ease The Stress Of Back -To – School Supply Shopping With These TipsMy Profile

    1. Ms Claudette

      I totally get you on this – where you pray without ceasing and everywhere. I personally do not believe that it is the position or place that you pray in but your heart that matters. Thanks for sharing your very insightful perspective. 🙂

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