Are Your Prayers All About You?

If, in prayer, you can only see your problems, try some praise instead.

Posted in , Mar 13, 2018

Praise God when you pray.

I walked to the chapel up the street because I had a deep sorrow hammering at my soul. The church was quiet, far quieter than my mind, so I let my distractions flow off into the silence as I waited for my heart to focus. 

A random question came to me: How much of my prayer life is related to my sorrows and desires? A lot, probably. Not that there’s anything wrong with telling God what’s on my heart, but as with any other relationship, it’s not healthy if it's all about me. 

So I pulled out my cellphone and searched, “Psalms of praise.” The first item to pop up was Psalm 145. I clicked on the link and read it through, then prayed the psalm. Then I scrolled to the next item suggested, Psalm 146. I liked that as well, and quickly added both to the notepad on my phone, so I could pray them while on the subway or when waiting in line. 

When I turned my thoughts back to my sorrow, ready to hand my pain over to God, an interesting thing happened. I found I was in far less pain than I had been before. I wondered how that could be. It was as if by aligning my heart to God and acknowledging His goodness caused some of my suffering to float off alongside my praise.

I knelt and gave thanks, and told the Lord of the difficulty weighing on me. Then I prayed Psalm 150, one of my favorites. It seemed right, and natural, to end my visit by lifting up my heart to God, whose scripture had lifted mine.

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