Sunday, June 8, 2014

Simple Prayers, Simple Theology

The other day I heard, I think on the radio, someone say something like, "you can tell a persons theology by their prayers."  This quote has bugged me every since I heard it.  I am sure the person was well meaning and in context it probably made a lot of sense but it felt a little belittling to me.  You see, I don't do fancy prayers.  I barely pray out loud in groups.  I love to pray with groups, I think it is powerful, but I am not one of those pray out loud people.  I feel too self conscious I suppose or confused, or frankly, I worry that what I am going to say will be slightly off topic or theologically confused.  So when I do stick my neck out to pray in a group, which I have had to learn to do as I have been in leadership positions at our church, I keep it pretty short and simple.  I stick closely to the point.

When I am home alone my prayers are not short and simple.  Just like I write, I ramble when I am with God.  And since I often write out prayers you can imagine how they go.

I didn't go to bible school, I haven't taken a bunch of theology courses.  I don't even really like to read theology books.  One of my spiritual gifts is faith.  I believe Jesus Christ is the son of God.  I believe he died and was raised from the dead.  I believe he was tempted but never sinned.  I believe he did this all for me. I believe that the bible is true.  I believe that all the details big and small that fall between are just that, details.  And I am just not that detail oriented.  I really don't care if you baptize your baby or wait until they can profess faith.  I don't know how deciding if I am pre or post trib will change any aspect of how I live my life.  And I don't appreciate the pressure of worrying that the way I pray in a group will define the depth and truth of my faith.

My prayer style started when I was in 3rd or 4th grade and our Sunday School teacher was talking to us about prayer.  She said to talk to God like he was a friend.  It totally changed my relationship with God.  Prior to that my prayers were like reading off a check list. "Dear God, I pray for..."  But she taught me I could just talk to God, tell him about my day, ask him questions, be casual and friendly. "Hey God, What up?"  And although I have come to understand my place in this relationship better and develop more of a respect for him and his authority in my life as I have gotten older, those casual conversations with a friend are still what work best for me. When I am talking to friends I don't speak in Old English, I don't generally quote scripture or any other written work, I don't follow any sort of formal agenda.  I just share what is on my mind.  Relationships are two way streets so I am aware of what he wants and needs from me and aim to give it to him because that is part of talking to a friend and being in a relationship.

So maybe my prayers do reflect my theology.  A very simple and straight forward belief.  Just know that my theology does not come from a lack of depth, or thought on the topic but from a desire to focus more on knowing God and  a total disinterest in details.  I figure if I start too far down the wrong path, my good friend Jesus will not be afraid to hip check me back over to the right road.  Never has been before.

No comments:

Post a Comment