I recently attended a simple chapel service put on by some fellow students at language school. During the service we had a time of splitting into groups to pray. Admittedly, we were doing this in French which severely limited our abilities, but I’m going to make a point anyways. I listened and heard all around me prayers that went like this: “Thank you God for being great, powerful, and wonderful / Thank you Jesus for coming to earth and dying for our sins / Thank you God for your grace / Thank you God for helping us.”
Those are elementary, as is necessitated by our language level. But add to those a bunch of prayers that say, “God give me / help me / teach me / aide me / ... me / ... us” and you’ve pretty much wrapped up a large portion of my basic prayer life. Especially when praying with a group of people.
Jesus spent hours every day in prayer. He was constantly withdrawing to commune with the Father. Could he have spent hours every day thanking God and asking for stuff. I guess so maybe? But I really doubt that’s what he did.
We’re told to pray continually (1 Thes 5:17). I think that means we do plenty of thanksgiving to God, especially in the little stuff. And surely we need to ask him for plenty (John 16:24). But couldn’t there be more? When we withdraw to commune with the Father, what should it look like? Honesty, for starters. My closest friends, the ones I truly commune with, are not simply friends that I thank and ask for things. There’s more depth to our time together. We share our lives with one another. We do things together, we talk about our dreams, fears, struggles, and basic thoughts. We enjoy each other and look for chances to talk about just about every experience, thought, and feeling we have. Should our time with God be any different?