This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than to give up one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I don’t call you servants any longer, because servants don’t know what their master is doing. Instead, I call you friends, because everything I heard from my Father I have made known to you.
I will write on them the name of my God…I will also write on them my own new name.
There was a leader in the church I grew up in who was known for his long prayers. When he’d get up during the worship service to pray, my youth group friends and I would roll our eyes and make faces at each other because we knew it was going to be a while before we got to go to lunch. Looking back, I know Dave prayed some beautiful, heartfelt prayers, but at the time, they seemed to drag on and were, at the same time, a little bit intimidating because I couldn’t pray like that.
I have learned that God doesn’t care if our prayers are long, if we use polished sentence structure or if our word choice is just so. God wants to connect with us, and God wants our honesty. The most important part of praying is just doing it. If we’re busy or tired, we can tell God that and keep our prayers brief. If we’re heartbroken, joyous, worried or thankful, we can share those feelings with God too. When we try to pray the perfect prayer, it feels like a chore. When we honestly share a part of ourselves with God, we create an intimacy that makes prayer feel more natural and comfortable.
This week when you pray, don’t worry about remembering all the things you need help with or all the ways you fell short or what you should be grateful for. Tell God what’s on your mind and in your heart in that moment.
Lord God, help us to connect with you this week. Remind us that, although you are Creator and King, you are also a Parent and Friend who wants to spend time with us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
- Angela LaVallie Tinsley, Facilities Services Program Director and Memorial Garden Administrator