I came across some interesting facts from the Pew Research Center recently about prayer. Prayer is something I’ve studied, wondered about, and fascinated over for many years. The study said that the majority of Americans (55%) prayed daily. Over 20 percent pray weekly or monthly. What’s more, a 2012 study found that “76% of Americans agreed with the statement ‘prayer is an important part of my daily life,’ a percentage that has remained relatively stable over the last 25 years.”
I found these figures very hopeful. Prayer is important. We know it, even when we don’t always understand it.
When I was a little girl, I said a nightly prayer about keeping people safe and blessing everyone in my life, like friends, parents, grandparents, and even pets. I still do this, but I also pray for growth and understanding. Too often though, I probably go overboard with it. Prayer isn’t a means for me to “read God’s mind” either. It’s a balance in living our lives with this amazing power of free will that He has given us, and in listening to where He wants us. I believe that when God is especially silent, it’s because He knows He can work with whatever we decide, but it’s up to us to actually make the decision.
In March, Emilie wrote a post (Waiting on Something Better) that has stayed with me, especially these words:
“Maybe you’re in a situation where you think the Lord isn’t moving (or moving fast enough) or maybe you think He isn’t hearing your prayers. He is! His silence may not be silence at all, but rather a kind gesture for you to be patient and wait on His timing. His perfect timing.”
What Is Prayer?
Why do I pray to you?
You, who put each hair on my head,
who made my blue eyes
and strong spirit.
Why do I tell you
what you surely must already know.
Why confess the sins you’ve seen,
or tell you about my fears?
Do I beg to you?
Do I ask you
to do something
you weren’t planning on doing?
Is prayer a reminder
for you to fulfill
promises I perceived
Is it silent,
from my thoughts and heart,
sent out with emotion
to the only one who’ll understand?
Or should prayers be shouted?
Glory! Blessings! As loud and long
as we can to make sure that you know
what it is we’re saying.
Prayer is not so you can see me more clearly,
it is how I can see my faults and weaknesses,
and still show my authentic self
Prayer is not how you know what I desire,
but how I can more freely
see the blessings
from this path you’ve led me on.
Prayer lets me step out of
our world of time and space
and into your world, our future home,
when we close our eyes and speak with you.
Prayer is our answer
to the questions we have
before we even know
what we would ask.
© Cherie Burbach, 2014, My Soul Is From a Different Place