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It’s that Simple!

I think a lot about prayer.

When I was a kid my mother prayed, so as a child I too I learned to pray. As I grew older I learned to “perfect” prayer. As an adult I learned to teach others how to pray. Then one day I actually listened to that deep, nagging voice in the crevices of my soul that was whispering, “You don’t really know what you are doing, do you? There’s more to this… more to prayer.” It was then that I took a step back from everything I knew, everything I learned, everything I taught, and all the voices around me still trying to tell me how to do it “right” and I became … a child.

As we get older most of us feel as if we’ve attained some wealth of knowledge, whether through books, mentors, teachers or experience. We gather all of those nuggets and give ourselves labels to qualify our positions such as parent, grandparent, teacher, mentor, leader, etc. We ground ourselves in our own knowledge and find security in our wisdom. Still yet, we hear that little voice whispering, “There’s more to this!”

It took a great adversity in my life to bring me to the reality that most things I thought I knew about prayer were simply, incomplete – not incorrect,  but incomplete. I knew the methods. I knew the Our Father Prayer pattern. I knew the reasons why prayers may or may  not get answered. I knew how to pray, why to pray, and when to pray. Still, it was incomplete. Still I longed for something more. Still I heard the whisper.

A potter that throws a bowl or cup on a potter’s wheel practices the art of moving their hands with the proper speed, pressure and position. If too much of any of those are given it can create an uneven shape that collapses upon itself and becomes a pile of muck instead of a work of art. At that moment, the best thing that can be done is for the potter to put the clay back into the mix and start all over again. I found myself collapsing from my troubles, and I let myself be thrown into the mix and start all over again – but as  a child.

Jesus said, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Children have a innate ability to see life through simplicity and imagination that spark creativity and wild adventures. They believe easily. They imagine boundlessly. They converse with excitement and listen to stories with eyes wide. They become open doors to worlds of possibility. In times of prayer they don’t get caught up in 9-step programs, loud repetitions, or lofty words that appeal to the educated. They simply, talk to God.

In working with Kids Prayer I’ve purposefully began to listen to the prayers of children versus the prayers of adults. I’ve heard children pray a ten word sentence that was more powerful than an adult who prayed for twenty minutes. They have a way of being simple, yet direct. They pray just as good with their eyes wide open than with them tightly shut. They sometimes fidget, while at the same time they are hearing God speak to them in their quiet time. In simplest terms, they just talk to God with faith, pray His Word, and accept that He will answer whatever way He chooses.

Somehow the simplicity of that removed all the stress I had experienced earlier in my life that I left me feeling I wasn’t doing it hard enough, right enough, or often enough. I found myself FREE – free to pray and just talk to God without all the rules that my “adultness” had tacked on. Can it really be that simple? I learned, “Yes; conversation with God is THAT simple!”

The next time you grab a phone to call a friend, or you sit down to write an email to a family member, or you text your BFF a message on your phone, ask yourself, “What about my conversation or message was so hard for me to physically do?” Your answer will most likely be, “Probably nothing.”

Don’t you think God deserves the same? Prayer doesn’t have to be difficult. Watch a child; you’ll be amazed at what they can teach you. But be prepared for an adventure because when God says that He can do “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,” they will simply believe Him for that and He alone with get the credit… not a teacher, not an author, not a prayer group or a 9-step program… just God. It’s that simple.

Colleen Clabaugh


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