Spiritual Practice

Authentic Prayer

Loren Mitchell & Tiffany Amezcua

We grow up thinking that we should pray a certain way. Maybe we kneel with hands clasped. Perhaps we whisper in hushed tones, saying “thee” and “thou” and “Almighty Most Glorious God in Heaven.” These are not the only ways to pray.

Prayer should be authentic, so pray in whatever ways help you to connect with God. Some people write prayers in a journal to help them focus. Others cannot sit still, so they praise God through music or dance. Some people pray while they are working in the garden or driving to work or school. If you are feeling angry and you want to shout at God, go ahead. God can handle your anger. If you need to cry, Jesus weeps with you. If you are happy, clap your hands and shout for joy; the Lord rejoices too. Find the ways that enable you to go to God with all that is on your heart: gratitude, hopes, fears, and the needs of others. God is always listening.

—Loren Mitchell


Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (NRSV)

TRY THIS: Start the day with a prayer, but don’t say “Amen” just yet. Leave the conversation open, and continue to pray throughout the day. Before you go to sleep, say a final prayer for the night. End it with an “Amen.” Discover what difference it makes to spend your days in the presence of God.

—Tiffany Amezcua, 24

—from devozine (May/June 2014). Copyright © 2014 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.
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