I started reading a book by Richard J Foster called Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home and I’m finding it one of the more easy books to read. The first chapter is called Simple Prayer and I’ve found it incredibly freeing as I desire to be known among the forces of darkness as a man who prays. That concept first struck me when I was in high school and reading Frank Peritti’s This Present Darkness. The young Pastor of a small country church was known simply by menacing demons as “the man who prays.”
Foster addresses the notion “that we have to have everything ‘just right’ in order to pray. That before we can really pray, our lives need to some fine tuning, or we need to know more about how to pray, or we need to study the philosophical questions surrounding prayer, or we need to have a better grasp of the great traditions of prayer. And on it goes.”
We’ve all heard the eloquent (and truly sincere and beautiful) prayers of others and think that when it’s our turn to pray out loud we’ll probably be perceived as grade-schoolers for our simplicity. But is that not what Jesus said is required to enter the Kingdom? To change and become like little children? Foster describes the simple prayer:
In simple prayer we bring ourselves before God just as we are, warts and all. Like children before a loving father, we open our hearts and make our requests. We do not try to sort things out, the good from the bad. We simply and unpretentiously share our concerns and make our petitions. We tell God, for example, how frustrated we are with the co-worker at the office or the neighbor down the street. We ask for food, favorable weather, and good health.
Foster goes on to state that Simple Prayer is the most common form of prayer in the Bible!
Don’t be afraid to pray simply and know that in doing so, you are in good company!
More quotes from Chapter 1 for the curious:
Simple Prayer involves ordinary people bringing ordinary concerns to a loving and compassionate Father. -Foster
We never outgrow this kind of prayer, because we never outgrow the needs which give rise to it. -John Dalrymple
To believe that God can reach us and bless us in the ordinary junctures of daily life is the stuff of prayer. -Foster
We should feel perfectly free to complain to God, or argue with God or yell at God…God is perfectly capable of handling our anger and frustration and disappointment. – Foster
Lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us. – C.S. Lewis