An article popped up in my news feed with the title “You Don’t Have to Follow a Particular God to Say a Prayer. The Words Are All That Matter.” The author says that even though she has rejected the Christian faith she still prays because prayer helps you “feel better”. She recommends using any religion’s prayers or even replacing “Our Father” in the Lord’s Prayer with an object of your choosing, such as Mother Wolf or Sister Pigeon. In her view, you can pray to anything because everything is God, and besides, saying the words is all that matters because it makes you feel better.

What a sad, anemic view of prayer! It’s like whistling in the dark. It does nothing to change the situation or provide any real protection. Its only purpose is to make you feel better. 

The Christian view of prayer (that she rejects) says it matters greatly who you talk to in prayer. Because there is only one God with the power and desire to respond to our prayers. Christians don’t pray just to hear ourselves talk. We pray because there is someone who listens, someone who cares. That someone is not a pigeon. That someone is the Lord God Almighty. 

It’s not the words that matter–it’s who’s listening. In fact, the bible tells us that even when we don’t have the words to pray, God the Holy Spirit prays for us with sighs too deep for words. Yes, prayer often makes us feel better, but that’s because we know who’s listening.

In your prayers this Lent, remember that it’s not having the right words that matter. What matters is that you have a God who loves you enough to listen and respond. 

Have a blessed Lent.

Pastor Mark

In the same way, the Holy Spirit helps us where we are weak. We do not know how to pray or what we should pray for, but the Holy Spirit prays to God for us with sounds that cannot be put into words.  Romans 8:26 NLV