What Prayer IS – Talking to God

Years ago, when I was working at a Christian school, I would often have this conversation with the kiddos before snack or lunch time.

“Do you want to pray?”

They nod.

“Okay, go ahead.” Then to the rest of the class “Everyone bow your heads, close your eyes, give respect to God.”


Crickets chirping.

Giggles from the wiggly children.

Then I would end up leading the child through the process of praying over our food.

Over and over again I’ve explained to hundreds of children that praying is just talking to God. It’s that simple. It’s tempting to try and make it into something else, there’s almost this desire to complicate what prayer is. I sometimes feel that if something is too simple then I’m overlooking or forgetting something or it’s too good to be true, but that’s not the case with prayer.

Now, there are different types of prayer (we’ll cover those later this month), but when you boil all of them down, it really is just talking to God.

There’s a story in the Bible where Jesus taught his disciples how to pray by pointing out what not to do. Pharisees (religious guys who followed the Law as strictly as possible who were considered “perfect” in Jewish society) would stand in the temple and rattle off long prayers, longing for people to notice and applaud them. They wanted to be noticed and they wanted to be honored. Yet that’s not what praying is for. Jesus contrasted the pious religious guy with a tax collector who was vile and a betrayer in the Jewish culture. He stood off and talked to God, overcome with emotions. The tax collector who was hated by those listening to Jesus was the one who understood what prayer was about: talking to God. Read this story here.  

I point out this story to tell you: God isn’t looking for eloquence or counting how many Christianese phrases you can put into one sentence. There aren’t rules to praying (we’ll go over a model on how to pray later) and God isn’t going to judge you if you get the words “wrong”. Just like I told those little kids years ago, prayer is just talking to God. Don’t be scared to pray, don’t feel the pressure to do it “right”, just come to him openly and honestly {click to tweet}

I encourage you, in your quiet time and as you go about your day, to just talk to God. If something sucks, let him know. If you’re elated and want to scream, convey that excitement to him. No matter what you’re feeling or going through, express it to God. Just talk to him and see what happens; he loves hearing from you! 

If you don’t have a prayer journal, you can download one at sarahjcallen.com/prayer


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