A friend of mine volunteered at a camp for kids with special needs. While some of the campers were in wheelchairs or needed help getting from one activity to the other, almost all of them struggled to express themselves in a way that we’d be used to. This became apparent during a time of devotional study when one of the boys was asked to lead a prayer. This camper really wanted to do a great job. But as he started to pray, my friend leaned in, trying hard to understand the words being said.
And that’s when he had a breakthrough.
Even though he couldn’t figure out what the young man was praying for, he realized that God understood and cherished every single word this camper was praying. God new exactly what this young man was going through. For God, it didn’t matter what order the words were in. All that mattered was the camper’s heart. And my friend could tell right away that that was in the right place.
As President for GCI, I end up receiving a lot of emails from people asking me questions, sharing their favorite sermons, or just “checking in.” One of the questions I get most is: “What’s the correct way to pray?” I can understand for our prayers to be heard. But deep down inside, we know that’s just not true.
There really isn’t a “right way” to pray. Of course, we have a few examples in scripture – David’s prayer for guidance, Paul’s prayer for believers, and (of course) the Lord’s Prayer. And while these and many more are great signposts that point us in the right direction, at the end of the day, prayer is a personal way of talking to God. I think what matters most is that we approach the throne of grace humbly, with a heart devoted to seeking God’s will – and a spirit of willingness to join in the redemptive work already happening around us. I think that as we do that our prayers will be headed in the right direction.
I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.