This article was originally published in Edition (6) of Prayer Magazine,  Apr-Jun 2006.

Just the word ‘prayer’ can evoke many different emotions.

It can bring feelings of guilt; I don’t pray enough, I’m too busy, I must pray more, maybe God will be mad at me, like an angry Dad whose child went off somewhere and forgot to ring home…..

It can bring about feelings of frustration too sometimes; crying out to God and not getting answers, when our prayers seem to fall on deaf ears…

A sense of apathy, why bother, I prayed, it didn’t work….

Prayer can make me think of boring prayer meetings in cold dusty churches, where there seems to be no sense of God’s Holy presence, I’m there out of a sense of duty in the hope that maybe this will be the night when he shows up and I don’t want to miss it!

Or a sense of fear, what if I go to a prayer meeting and someone asks me to pray out loud? I feel like my words are clumsy when everyone else seems to be eloquent.

Yes, being honest I’ve experienced the whole range of those emotions concerning my own journey of prayer and I have come to the place now where prayer to me is about a relationship with my heavenly Daddy….

As I come to understand more of His love for me, I’m released from the pressure of trying to achieve, of having the right words or spending the right amount of time in prayer….  I can come just as I am.

Prayer for me is a place of complete honesty; it’s an honesty that can’t be found in any human relationship.

It’s a place where I can be completely open and real… I can scream or cry.

I can’t shock Him, or tell Him something he doesn’t already know, if I’m angry then its okay, if I’ve done something bad I can tell him without fear of punishment or being grounded for 6 months!

In fact it’s the place where I can bring my mistakes and get a second chance.  If I’m hurt he understands….. Completely.

When I’m worried, where else would I go? 

I can take my loved ones with me. I picture myself coming before his throne;

I say “Here I am Lord with the children you have given to me.”                                                                                                

When I’m happy I sing and dance before Him, and I know he smiles……

Prayer to me is a privilege, it’s a relationship, it’s an open line to heaven.

And 24-7, night and day, He’s always there……

Gill Houghton

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