A few years ago (haha) when I was in college at UC Santa Barbara, someone gave me the book by John White called The Fight. It was one of the first Christian books I’d ever read. White defined prayer as “aligning my will with God’s will.”
I’ll never forget that definition. Certainly that is not an exhaustive definition of prayer, but it says something important about prayer.
It is true that God invites us to present our requests to Him, but if my prayer life is limited to giving God a 2-do list, I’m missing out on arguably the more important part of prayer: listening.
It has been my experience that when I give God a list of requests and say ‘Amen.’, I have barely begun to pray. The real prayer comes when I am quiet before God and invite the Spirit of God into the tension of what I want and what I don’t have.
It is my experience that the richest times of prayer have been when I start by asking God for what I want, but end by resting in peace beyond understanding, confident that God loves me and knows what He is doing (or not doing).
Yes, It is my experience that some of the richest times of prayer are times when prayer is simply this: aligning my will with God’s will.
Lord, continue to teach me to pray…
In His Love and Grace,