One word, one thought, one feeling in front of the other. That is all it takes. Prayer is the most basic conversation. There is no need to rehearse or get the words just right. Just think, feel, acknowledge the presence of God. Speak to him from the deepest parts of you and if words come out then that is ok too. He won’t ask you to clarify and he won’t misunderstand. He won’t get the wrong impression of you.
Teresa of Avila wrote powerfully about the faith journey. For her there was only one way to grow in faith – prayer, that conversation between us and God. You don’t have to be educated to pray. You don’t have to speak a certain language or know the fancy words that come with hours of studying. All you need is to turn your heart to God and speak with him.
Prayers don’t just look one way. Sometimes they are asking for things. Sometimes they are telling God why we love him. Sometimes they are telling him why we are angry with him. Sometimes they are just ramblings about what is happening in our day – as if sitting over a cup of coffee with a friend. Sometimes prayer is just opening our hands with the thoughts and feelings that seem chaotic and raising them to God saying, “please, make some sense of these because I can’t.” Sometimes it is sitting in silence with the realisation that God is sitting right beside.
Stop. Listen. Prayer is more than what we have to say. It has to do with the things that God wants to say to us as well. It is an interaction. It is a conversation.
If there is one thing I never want to lose, it is the vulnerability to acknowledge God in this way.
In those times I have found strength for the next breath and hope for the next step. In this most basic conversation I change and God works miracles in the world around me.
As far as I can understand, the door of entry into this castle is prayer and meditation: I do not say mental prayer rather than vocal, for, if it is prayer at all, it must be accompanied by meditation. If a person does not think Whom he is addressing, and what he is asking for, and who it is that is asking and of Whom he is asking it, I do not consider that he is praying at all even though he be constantly moving his lips. ~ Teresa of Avila (born in 1515), Interior Castle