We all pray whether we think of it as praying or not. The odd silence we fall into when something very beautiful is happening, or something very good or very bad. The “Ahhhh” that floats up out of a 4th of July crowd when the skyrocket bursts over the water. The stammer of pain at somebody else’s pain. The stammer of joy at somebody else’s joy. These are all prayers in their own way.
– Frederick Buechner
According to the description given by Frederick Buechner, I pray more often than I ever realized. When I see my prayer life through this clearer lens, I connect my feelings with my prayers, and understand prayer more deeply. I see what prayer is, and what it is not.
Prayer in its truest form is not canned, but is (rather) a very honest and organic response to life, pain, awe, compassion, truth, injustice, beauty, fear, love, anger and any other basic human emotion or condition. It is a plea for help and hope, or an unfiltered, raw expression of the extent of our joy and gratitude for the gift of life.
You can likely think of examples of times when you stumbled upon the beauty of nature, or witnessed triumph or tragedy for human or animal, or you have come face to face with the weak and powerless who have endured injustices. If any of these (or other) circumstances have elicited a basal response from you, then you have prayed the truest, most powerful prayer.
I believe that God loves these prayers… these prayers that bubble or burst or explode from our hearts… unplanned and unfiltered!
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer…
– 1 Peter 3:12