A Bouquet of Prayer

“Proper praying is like a person who wanders through a field gathering flowers- -one by one, until they make a beautiful bouquet. In the same manner, a person must gather each letter, each syllable, to form them into words of prayer” (Rabbi Nachman).

I love that sentiment. I’ve had the privilege of being around some people who were amazing pray-ers. They may not have had the best conversational skills, but when they opened their mouths to pray, something beautiful happened.

I also believe that prayer isn’t just about beauty of words. You don’t have to be a poet to pray. In fact, you don’t always have to have words for God to hear you. I have sometimes borrowed the prayers of others, whether in the Book of Common Prayer or other written prayers. I have known many people who pray Scripture back to God. Even at times when there are no words at all, God is able to understand your sighs and groans as a kind of prayer language.

I can testify that there are times when I go to pray when the words flow out of me like they’re coming from somewhere else. It could very well be the Holy Spirit praying in me — like God in me is praying to God in heaven. I like that because I know that I am praying God’s will and God’s words instead of my own, and that God will always honor and grant those requests.

It boggles my mind that prayer doesn’t boggle my mind more. The very idea that I can have bold access to the throne of the God of the universe at any time in any place isn’t ever something any of us should ever take for granted, and yet we do.

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