As a new Christian, I got lots of well-meaning advice about how to pray. Apparently I wasn’t approaching God correctly.
I got so I was afraid to pray unless I followed some ‘standardized’ method. If I didn’t adore God first, maybe He would be angry. If I prayed out of sequence maybe He couldn’t hear.
This resulted in my not praying very much at all. Thankfully, I studied the Psalms. David let God know where he stood, right off…
Witness the first verses of Psalm 86
1-7 Bend an ear, God; answer me. I’m one miserable wretch!
Keep me safe—haven’t I lived a good life?
Help your servant—I’m depending on you!
You’re my God; have mercy on me.
I count on you from morning to night.
Give your servant a happy life;
I put myself in your hands!
You’re well-known as good and forgiving,
bighearted to all who ask for help.
Pay attention, God, to my prayer;
bend down and listen to my cry for help.
Every time I’m in trouble I call on you,
confident that you’ll answer (MSG).
And then I read this poem by Sam Walter Foss.
THE PRAYER OF CYRUS BROWN
“The proper way for a man to pray,” said Deacon Lemuel Keyes,
“And the only proper attitude is down upon his knees.”
“No, I should say the way to pray,” said Rev. Doctor Wise,
“Is standing straight with outstretched arms and rapt and upturned eyes.”
“Oh, no; no, no,” said Elder Slow, “Such posture is too proud:
A man should pray with eyes fast closed and head contritely bowed.”
“It seems to me his hands should be austerely clasped in front.
With both thumbs pointing toward the ground,” said Rev. Doctor Blunt.
“Las’ year I fell in Hodgkin’s well head first,” said Cyrus Brown,
“With both my heels a-stickin’ up, my head a-pinting down;
“An’ I made a prayer right then an’ there– best prayer I ever said,
The prayingest prayer I ever prayed, a-standing on my head.”
Prayer-Lord today is all topsy-turvy. We cry out our distress and take great joy in knowing that You answer…Amen.
Brenda J Wood