The Other Half of Prayer

By: Jenni Taylor

Guest blogger Hailey Kaufman wrote a beautiful post a few months back about prayer, and in it she brought up an argument, one that I have had with myself more times than I can count. Hailey asked: “If God has a plan for everything, then all the imploring in the world won’t change it; and even if he had no path laid out, what would my opinions and ideas mean compared to his?”

I’ll be the first to say it. Prayer doesn’t make sense. Despite being part of the long Christian tradition of prayer I can’t answer all the questions I have about it. Can we change God’s will with our thoughts?  If we can’t change God’s will, what’s the point of it all anyway?

I’m no theologian. I’ve prayed more meaningless prayers in my life than most people, growing up in church and all. The traditional dinner-time prayer…“Bless this food to our bodies..” Yeah, like that one was really full of sincerity when I was 10 at the dinner table just wanting to dig into my mac and cheese. But putting aside the meaningless ones, and remembering the real ones…well, they have marked me. Changed my life. Made me a better person.

I don’t always have words for prayer; in fact, I usually don’t. It’s something more like reaching out my soul to touch something else. I think many of us, myself included, forget that when we are touching something, it’s touching us right back.

A wise man once told me to stop praying with so many words and just shut up for a minute. Was I listening? Really listening? With me shouting questions at God, did I ever give him a chance to answer? Most of my sincere prayers were usually pretty angry ones, whatever the case was at the time. And that’s legit. Sometimes I just needed to yell at the universe. But the most beautiful times in my life were the tiny moments when I really did shut up and listen, even for a split second. So, go ahead, ask the hard questions. But do yourself a favor and try the listening half, too. You’ll be amazed at what you hear.

About Jenni Taylor

Jenni Taylor is about to embark on her next educationally vagabonding journey in Cambodia.

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